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(Trans Floris i5i5~ I 57o) 





Author of Bee Venom Therapy 

"My son, eat thou honey, for it is good." 

Solomon (Proverbs 24:13) 


Publishers New York. 


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All rights reserved. No part of this book can be repro- 
duced in any form without permission from the pub- 
lishers. This restriction does not apply to reviewers 




THE principal aim and object of this volume is to evaluate 
honey and appraise its true worth, particularly as an impor- 
tant nutrimental and superior medicinal substance. The author's 
venture in preparing and publishing this review during moments 
snatched from the hubbub of an active medical practice was in- 
spired by a long cherished ambition to contribute his best efforts 
to the reinstatement of honey to its former exalted place. The ad- 
vantages and efficacy of this substance should be appreciated. 

For someone who knows the extraordinary merits of honey, it 
is difficult to comprehend the reason why this salutary substance 
has suffered such a setback. For sixty centuries, throughout his- 
toric ages and undoubtedly even in prehistoric times, honey was 
man's only "sweetener" and his most favored food, delicacy and 
medicine. But Nature's own sweet was displaced by one of man's 
inferior, nay, objectionable products. Upon the intrusion of "re- 
fined" sugars, honey declined in use and now, instead of being an 
important household necessity, it has become an article of luxury. 
Civilization and even science often post only dim lights as warn- 
ing signals before deep chasms 5 on the other hand, they neglect 
to mark with road-signs abandoned paths which lead to a better 

The culpable disregard of honey is a grave and lamentable error 
of the present generation and a sad reflection on its intelligence. 
It is almost unbelievable that such an ideal and nourishing food, 
with its delightful bouquet, is almost entirely missing from our 
tables. If honey were ever rehabilitated, man would wonder how 
he could ever have gotten along without it. 


The medicinal merits of honey are fully discussed in the respec- 
tive chapters of this book. The author considers it an especial priv- 
ilege to avail himself of an opportunity at least to try to promote 
the physical, and indirectly, the moral welfare of his fellowmen. 
It accords a sense of gratification to hope that the advocated meas- 
ures may benefit society. 

It is curious that the numberless books on dietetics scarcely men- 
tion or only superficially treat the subject of honey. This applies 
to lay as well as to medical literature. While the ancient classical 
writers and those of the Middle Ages liberally contributed to the 
practical knowledge and appreciation of honey, their extravagant 
statements today sound fantastic, almost absurd. Their faith in the 
substance was so implicit that the information one gains from their 
comments has the aspect of legendary lore rather than of facts. 
On the other hand, the disregard of honey in current literature is 
diametrically opposite. It is astounding how meager are the scien- 
tific data available today concerning honey. Not a single book has 
been published of late years which creditably and thoroughly dis- 
cusses its nutrimental and medicinal values. This actuality was an 
additional incentive for editing the present volume. May it induce 
further research in this almost virgin field. 

B. F. B. 

New York City 
January, 1938 




The Object of Nutrition 16 



The Physical and Chemical Aspects of Honey . . . 2 2 

1. Physical Qualities 22 

2. The Chemistry of Honey 31 


V. HONEY vs. SUGAR 4 o 


1. In Infant Feeding 49 

2. For Children 51 

5. For Athletes and Soldiers 59 

4. In Longevity 63 

Luigi Cornaro 79 


/. hi Ancietit Therapeutics 83 

2. As Medicine in the Middle Ages 90 

5. In Modem Therapeutics 92 

Honey and Diabetes 1 04 




Heather Honey in 

Eucalyptus Honey 114. 


IX. MEAD i2 2 

The Medicinal Value of Mead and other Honey-drinks . 132 


Too Much Honey 140 

Poisonous Honey 142 

Adulterated Honey 145 

The Price of Honey 147 


/. In Cooking, Baking and Confectionery . . . .149 

2. In Beverages 152 

3. The Preserving Quality of Honey 153 

4. In Cosmetics 155 




Egyft 163 

India 164 

China 165 

Greece 166 

The Roman Emfire 166 

Ancietit Britain 167 






Corsica, Holland and Spain 
Hungary .... 


The Slavic Countries 
The American Continent . 

The United States . 

American Honey-lore 




In the Bible 







/. Birth 

2. Marriage .... 

5. Death 


/. The Origin of Beer . 

2. The Production of Steel . 

5. The Reanimation of the Dead 

4. The Saving of Cattle . 

5. The Cure of Diseases . 

6. The Creation of the Dog . 







Miscellaneous Proverbs 2 4-8 


Part One 2 5 J 

Part Two 2 59 



INDEX OF SUBJECTS ....,..•• *7o 



Frans Floris 151 S~ I S7° 




6lO B.C l6l 


6lO B.C • . . 164 

IV. THE TOMB OF REKH-MI-RE, ABOUT 1450 b.c. 165 



WAR 176 



By Piero di Cosimo y XV Century 


By Piero di Cosimo 






By Lucas Cranach, 1 S3° 


By Lucas Cranach 




By Albrecht Diirer, 151 4 


1450 B.C .... 24O 




1. SPANISH CAVE PICTURE. (H. Obermaier, Fossil Man in 

Spain, 1924) 160 


(Mrs. Robert W. de Forest Collection) 177 

3. THE MAN SAVED BY A BEAR. Schnurrdiburr odcr Die 

Bienen. Neues, Wilhelm Busch Album 195 

4. THE ROMAN BEEHIVE. Title page of the Roomische 

byen-korf, by Filips van Marnix, 1 581. John Rylands 
Library, Manchester, England 203 


BEES. Jo Petri Bellori; Notae in Numismata (Jacobo 
Gronovio; Thesaurus Graecarum Antiquitatum. Vol. 
VII. 1657) 20 9 


AND BEE (Ibid.) 210 


HONEY-JAR (Ibid.) 212 


(Ibid.) 212 


RIDING ON A BEE. Creuzer, Fr. Symbolik und 

Mythologie der Alten Volker. 1836 213 

Anticke Gemmen. Plate XXII 235 


THROUGH my friendship for the author, it has been my 
privilege to read the manuscript of this book. Thus I have 
been given an opportunity to have a brief word with others who 
will read the book after publication. 

First I wish to congratulate the readers on obtaining such a vast 
store of information on the merits of honey and the wonders of its 
past recognition. In the rush of modern affairs we are prone to 
overlook old beliefs and traditions and to forget that they ever 
existed. While today we do not concede that honey cures all human 
ailments, it is nevertheless interesting to learn that earlier people 
held such views. The lore which the author has so well collected, 
not only on bees but also on honey, is, however, far greater than 
could possibly be included in a single book. With such an array of 
expressions of faith in honey, we are perforce brought to increase 
our own confidence in this worthy product. 

Honey has needed just such a book as this. Modern works on 
honey have dealt chiefly with its chemistry and physics, with some 
attention to its dietetic value and more to its use in cookery. These 
are rather prosaic aspects of an interesting and delectable article 
of human diet, by no means to be scorned, but on the other hand 
not to be pursued to the exclusion of the romantic side. It is not 
surprising that beekeepers attribute almost supernatural virtues 
to a substance which they assist the bees to produce but there is no 
impropriety on the part of others, not so engaged, if they question 
the merits claimed by enthusiasts. Statements which this book con- 
tains should give pause to everyone who disdains the opinions of 
those without scientific attainments. I have no intention to belittle 


scientific investigations but there is, on the other hand, something 
to be said for accumulated experience. 

I am happy to commend this work to the general public, to the 
beekeepers and, last but not least, to the medical profession. I sin- 
cerely hope that it may serve the purpose for which it is intended. 

E. F. Phillips 

Cornell University 
Ithaca, New York, 1938 




Some, as thou saw'st, by violent stroke shall die, 
By fire, flood, famine; by intemperance more 
In meats and drinks, which on the Earth shall bring 
Diseases dire, of which a monstrous crew 
Before thee shall appear, that thou mayst know 
What misery the inabstinence of Eve 
Shall bring on men. 

If thou well observe 
The rule of "Not too much," by temperance taught 
In what thou eat'st and drink'st, seeking from thence 
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight, 
Till many years over thy head return; 
So mayst thou live, till, like ripe fruit, thou drop 
Into thy mother's lap, or be with ease 
Gathered, not harshly plucked, for death mature. 

Milton — Paradise Lost: Book XI 

THE author is fully aware of the fact that this treatise is not 
"just another book" on foods or general dietetics and that 
his real purpose is to advocate the wider use of only one special 
food substance, namely, honey. However, to explain fully certain 
principles that are correlated with the main topic, he must allude 
to the facts and precepts discussed in the present chapter which, 
therefore, justifies the addition of an apparently irrelevant issue. 
There is a deep-rooted yearning throughout animated Nature 
for well-being and the preservation of life. Health always was 
and will remain our most cherished possession. Nobody doubts 
this axiom. The principal human efforts are yet concentrated on 


preserving health and when on the wane or lost, on regaining it. 
It is evident that the present generation is extremely conscious of 
this fact and fully appreciates the value of health. A two-year 
survey, conducted by the University of Chicago, the American As- 
sociation for Adult Education and the United Y.M.C.A. Schools, 
revealed that the first and principal interest of adults is health 
and the preservation of life. Magazines and newspapers of wide 
circulation have their regular health-columns, a proof that Amer- 
icans are no exception and that they are eminently health-con- 
scious. Before drinking and after sneezing, we hear the convivial 
wish: "To your health!" 

Among all educational measures for disseminating knowledge 
of health-culture, undoubtedly dietetics reign supreme. This is 
only natural because no other hygienic factor contributes more ef- 
fectively to health than the logical selection of the proper quality 
and quantity of food, that is, what and how much we should eat. 
A sound knowledge of the essential principles of vital nutrition 
must be acquired, fully understood and— above all— well remem- 
bered. Of course, the innumerable scientific and unscientific doc- 
trines and many suggestions, disputes and contradictions with 
regard to dietetics make it difficult to select the right path to 


The first and one of the more important points to be considered 
is what to eat. If we wish to decide this question, a brief excursion 
into the field of anthropology, or, relinquishing our pride, to 
zoology, is indispensable. 

The physical history of man, his first appearance on this habit- 
able globe, preceded his civic or general history. While the latter 
is based on comparatively authentic facts, the former is veiled in 
impenetrable darkness. There must have been a time, place and 
manner when man first appeared on earth. He had to maintain his 
existence and nourish his body. Undoubtedly, fruits, nuts and 
honey were the first foods of primitive man. Man's first environ- 
ment is reminiscent of our present gardens, with their fruits, flow- 
ers and beehives. They are monuments to Nature and to our brief 
sojourn in Paradise, offering incomparably more inspiration to 


poetry and art and more benefits to health than slaughter houses. 

The bees of fossil ages, imbedded in amber, are not unlike our 
existing bees, which clearly demonstrates that they reached their 
complete evolution in preadamic times and supplied the primates 
with an abundant supply of sweets, so much coveted by all living 
creatures. When man acquired the knowledge of agriculture and 
learned husbandry, he probably added to his fare vegetables and 
cereals and only later, after he had invented mechanical imple- 
ments to kill animals and catch fish, he turned to animal diet. Evi- 
dently primeval man was at first a vegetarian and in process of 
time — call the deviation perversion or civilization — became a car- 
nivorous being. 

It is not difficult to teach animals of strictly vegetarian habits 
to eat meat. Horses easily become meat eaters (even alcohol drink- 
ers). Dr. Philippi of St. Jago, Chile, disclosed the acquired habits 
of his two saddle horses which eagerly snapped up and consumed 
chickens j they even pulled young pigeons from their nests and 
devoured them. In Norway horses are said to dash into the sea to 
catch and eat fish. Rabbits and squirrels, if they are kept fasting 
for a while, will greedily eat meat; they become used to it and 
will gnaw on bones like dogs, even when not short of vegetable 
food. So it is not surprising that Homo sapiens acquired the meat- 
eating habit. Regarding drinks, if horses, dogs, cats and other 
quadrupeds, even birds, become addicted to alcoholic beverages, 
why not man, an unusually adaptable creature? 

Food and physical comfort are closely connected with social 
and moral well-being, and they have played an important part in 
man's progress. Our first trouble in Paradise commenced with 
food. "God created man to be immortal and made him to be an 
image of His own Eternity." . . . "And the Lord God commanded 
the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely 
eat} but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not 
eat of itj for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely 
die." Then occurred our first transgression in food, a bad habit 
which we still persistently practice. 

Human civilization has been greatly influenced by the food 


consumed. Nutrition is not only a problem of the individual but 
of society. We must distinguish between nutritive and stimulating 
substances. Meat, though undoubtedly of valuable protein con- 
tent, an important compound for successful tissue building, is a 
highly stimulating food. Wild boar was the favored food of the 
romantic Niebelungen warriors, who, though mythological crea- 
tions, were regarded as the greatest fighters of the world. Car- 
nivorous animals in general are fiercer and more cruel in dispo- 
sition than herbivorous ones. Meat-eating without doubt has 
modified man's disposition and tendencies. This is disputed by 
some scientists. They try to prove their objection to the theory by 
the ferocious nature of the herbivorous bull and by the gentle dis- 
position of the carnivorous Eskimo. They seem to have overlooked 
the fact that the ferocity of the bull is attributable to sex (the tran- 
quil cow feeds on the same rations) and that the unfolding of a 
high-mettled disposition of an Eskimo is checked by the arctic 
climate. It is noteworthy that abstainers from meat possess greater 
endurance than those who indulge in meat. The "punch" of the 
latter group far excels their endurance. 

Meat is a rather unclean food because toxins are created in the 
tissues of animals during the process of living which are difficult 
to eliminate entirely even through boiling or roasting. Even sav- 
ages avoid eating carnivorous quadrupeds and birds. The ancient 
Greeks, though maritime people, abstained from fish because they 
are cannibalistic creatures. Cereals, vegetables, nuts, eggs and 
dairy products contain sufficient protein substances and easily take 
the place of meat. The regrettable fact is that meat eaters crave 
alcohol, which is a digestive aid, but which only adds to the exist- 
ing stimulation. The introduction of a vegetable diet would be a 
radical cure for intemperance. 

The critical and important question, as already stated, is what 
to eat! The human body is an intricate machine which requires 
proper fuel not only to generate heat and energy but also to re- 
build worn-out parts. In this respect our body excels, by far, the 
most complicated engine — we may just as well distinguish it as a 
"living" engine. It is unfortunate that the average man knows so 


little about it. Horace Mann, the great educator, remarked that 
he knew all about the working of the heavenly bodies but nothing 
about those of his own body. Anatomical, physiological or even 
chemical erudition is not an absolute concern of the average per- 
son ; there is no need for him to know how to overhaul the "en- 
gine" and to repair any damaged parts — Nature and the physi- 
cians will attend to that. But it should be every man's duty to 
know, at least, how to supply his body with proper fuel and to ac- 
quire a knowledge of food values. And this is not impossible. 
Primitive man is extremely proficient in this respect as is proved 
by the fact that he possesses incomparably greater physical perfec- 
tion than civilized man. It is evident that modern man is to be 
blamed for all shortcomings in supplying the "living engine" with 
the proper fuel. This is a great pity, in fact, a catastrophe because 
the knowledge and application of the significant laws of nutrition 
serve not only to maintain physical life but to establish mental, 
spiritual and moral distinction. Proper food moulds one's person- 
ality and that of one's offspring. 

We obtain our food supply from the animal, vegetable and 
mineral kingdoms. We require a mixed diet consisting of pro- 
teins, carbohydrates and fats. Meat, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits, 
starches, sugars are and should be our main reliance. Milk is an 
essential food with its main components of protein, fats, sugar and 
water. Meat is another important food, but, as explained, it is by 
no means indispensable. Fresh fish have exceptional nutrimental 
value. Cereals, e.g., rice, oats, wheat, rye, corn, barley, millet, 
etc., are valuable food materials. The populations of China, India, 
of the tropics 5 in fact, the largest proportion of the human race 
lives on cereals. The inhabitants of the United States annually, 
per capita, consume even today about 350 pounds of cereal foods, 
approximately a pound a day. Dr. G. Fordyce (On Digestion, 
1 791) mentions how Benjamin Franklin personally related to 
him that he lived for a fortnight, when a journeyman printer, on 
bread and water at the rate of "ten pennyworth of bread per week" 
and had found himself stout and hearty on this diet. It did not 
seem to shorten his life, as he died when eighty-six. Good bread, 


the "staff of life," composed of protein, starch and mineral sub- 
stances, is a vital food, though admittedly a monotonous one, es- 
pecially if eaten in the humble way Franklin consumed it. St. An- 
thony lived on a few ounces of bread and water and though he 
never washed himself or changed his garments, reached the age 
of one hundred and five. Fruits, nuts and vegetables, containing 
starches, fats, sugars and plenty of palatable organic acids and 
water, keep in excellent condition the strength and life of the 
■major -portion of the inhabitants of our earth. We may as well 
omit alcohol, coffee and tea, because they are not nutritive sub- 
stances but stimulants. The heat of coffee and tea itself is a stimu- 
lant. Tobacco is a narcotic. Alcohol and tobacco indulged in at the 
same time have an effect similar to that which results when the 
accelerator and the brake of a motor car are applied simultane- 

How to select essential food materials? There is no hard and 
fast rule for sensible eating other than the use of common sense. 
Unerring regularity is impractical. The strict adherence to any 
sort of diet always has a bad effect on the human system. Nature 
has provided a great variety of nourishment for us and we should 
select with discretion what best agrees with our constitution and 
mode of living. A diversity of nutriment is paramount. We re- 
quire sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, 
copper, chlorine, iodine, fluorine, phosphorus and sulphur for our 
organism and we cannot obtain all these minerals from a diet 
which is not sufficiently diversified. Empiricism will be more help- 
ful in our search for appropriate food than scientific analysis. Ev- 
eryone must study his special personal requirements. 

The first consideration is that the intake of food and the output 
of energy must be balanced. The human body is a perfect ma- 
chine, the cells are able to regenerate and, to all appearances, 
should go on forever. The waste must be compensated for and an 
equilibrium established between loss and repair. The dissolution 
of our body is possibly due to the disrespect or ignorance of this 
seemingly occult law. The curse of our civilization, in addition to 
denaturized food, is unbalanced diet. Food faddists with their ir- 


rational precepts and dietary whims contribute their share by ex- 
cluding desirable foods. Fortunately most diet fashions seldom 
last longer than a year or so. 

If an engine carries a heavier load and is run with greater 
speed, it will require more fuel and lubrication. The prime con- 
siderations should be the innate quality of the engine and the pur- 
pose which it is meant to serve. Age and climate must be consid- 
ered. The body requires different food in winter than in summer j 
the same contrast which exists between the north and the tropics. 
People in extremely cold climates prefer fat which is a heat pro- 
ducing food j the population of the tropical countries, on the con- 
trary, prefer fruits and leafy vegetables. In cold climates the 
organism will be more capable of enduring dietetic errors. 

The various ages of life are important. If we divide the periods 
of life into three principal parts: (i) Period of Preparation, from 
birth to about twenty-one j (2) Active Usefulness, from twenty- 
one to forty-five 5 and (3) Period of Decline, we can easily under- 
stand why the food requirements vary considerably. In the first 
period of life, next to starches and sugars, proteins are most im- 
portant. In the second "act", the catechism of metabolists, that 
carbohydrates, proteins and fats should be in a 4:13/2:1 ratio, is 
more applicable. During the period of decline, when tissue build- 
ing is on the decrease, the body requires less protein to repair the 
wear and tear but more calorigenic carbohydrates to create much 
needed energy. Of course, the principle that one man's meat is 
another man's poison should be considered. Constitution, heredi- 
tary traits, temperament, habits and environment, on the whole, 
must be taken into account. The main precept should be, however, 
to be mindful of the stomach (the boiler and its purpose) and not 
of the palate and the tongue, especially when they are not under 
the control of the brain. The rule of common sense is more impor- 
tant even than that of science. Too much science only adds to the 
confusion. If we were to eat entirely according to science, espe- 
cially in our science-mad era, we should soon be served a fair-sized 
pill, containing carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, enzymes, 
calcium, iron and "sixteen" other minerals in proper ratio, previ- 


ously irradiated, of course, with ultra-violet rays, which would 
mean the end of the good old-fashioned "square" meal. Too bad 
that philosophers have maimed and deprived us (we also did our 
share) of the power of instinct and have indemnified us with rea- 
son — because instinct in selecting food could be of considerable 
assistance. As it is, we simply have to envy the intelligence (with 
apologies to Descartes) exhibited by the lower creatures in their 
choice of food and . . . drink. 

We could learn a lot also from the ancients in the selection of 
their food. Hesiod remarks: "The uncultivated fields afforded 
fruits to the Greeks and supplied their bountiful repast." Por- 
phyry, the Platonic philosopher (third century B.C.), a man of 
great talent and learning, related that "the ancient Greeks lived 
entirely on the fruits of the earth." The diet certainly must have 
agreed with them and aided their intellect and imagination, en- 
abling them to create the greatest classic of all times, their mythol- 
ogy. Their unusual longevity sounds today more like a myth. The 
ancient Greek and Roman legislators introduced strict laws for 
the preservation of health and it was the duty of officers of high 
rank to enforce public health laws. Simple, natural and physio- 
logically rational nourishment is more fitted to promote health 
than unnatural, stimulating foods. 

Hygienic measures formerly constituted a part of religion. 
Moses, Mohammed, Confucius and Buddha prescribed health 
laws. When countries once healthy and prosperous disregarded 
these tenets and changed their habits, they became decadent. The 
Holy Land, once flowing with milk and honey and producing 
sufficient grain and fruit to supply a great population, became a 
land of doom, a deserted land, the abode of lawless Arabs and 
Turks. A Sanebat from Egypt, about 2500 B.C., described Pales- 
tine: "There were figs and grapes; its wine was more plentiful 
than water; abundant was its honey, many were its oil-trees, and 
all fruits were upon its trees; there, too, was barley and spelt, and 
cattle of all kinds without end." 

Napoleon remarked that an army marches on its stomach. We 
could easily apply this maxim to nations; in fact, to the inhabitants 


of the entire globe. Ideal nutrition would entail not only physical 
but mental and moral reform, consequently raising sanitary as 
well as social, economic, and even spiritual standards. If we were 
to introduce, for instance, a five-year trial period of sensible eating 
— a procedure very much in vogue today in other matters the 
world over — or even nominate a food-czar, many problems of 
sociology, economy, criminology and of agriculture would become 
avaunt. Through economy of food not only ill health, but many 
a depression could be averted. The actual and current fact, men- 
tioned without political or any other allusion, that sixty-five mil- 
lion Germans are led today by a vegetarian ought to arouse the 
interest of food experts and induce them to use telescopes instead 
of test-tubes. The indefatigable German Fuhrer is a liberal con- 
sumer of honey, in which he indulges daily at breakfast, in typical 
Bavarian fashion, with milk, oatmeal, bread and cheese. The full 
appreciation of honey by the Nazi government is best proven by 
the fact that its exportation is strictly prohibited. 

With regard to the quantity of food to be consumed, we must 
obey one of the principal commands of Nature and that is econ- 
omy. The old precept that we eat to live and do not live to eat, 
must be remembered. The ancient Egyptians placed miniature 
mummies, and the Carmelite monks, human skulls, on their din- 
ing tables to remind them of this truism. The consumption of 
tasty and wholesome food, in moderation, is the safest and most 
essential approach to the conservation of health, prolongation of 
usefulness, enjoyment of the senses and the complacent exercise 
of intellect to appreciate the beauties of this world. Samuel John- 
son well expressed this sentiment: "Health is, indeed, so necessary 
to all the duties as well as pleasures of life, that the crime of squan- 
dering it is equal to folly j and he that for a short gratification 
brings weakness and diseases upon himself, and for the pleasure 
of a few years passed in the tumults of diversion and clamors of 
merriment condemns the maturer and more experienced part of 
his life to the chamber and the couch, may be justly reproached, 
not only as a spendthrift of his happiness, but as a robber of the 
public j as a wretch that has voluntarily disqualified himself for 


the business of his station, and refused that part which Providence 
assigns him in the general task of human nature." Socrates, who 
preached and also practiced moderation in food consumption, es- 
caped all plagues which raged in Athens, where he resided. The 
glorified Spartan diet produced superior physical prowess. 

People in general consume more food than is physiologically 
necessary. Eating too much, to eat until one cannot eat any longer, 
overstrains the digestive powers and prevents digestion. There is 
an old and very true saying, "stop eating while you still have some 
appetite." An excess of food defeats its object; besides, it is detri- 
mental to health. Occasionally, or for a short period of time, it is 
not so harmful but when prolonged it will lead finally to the de- 
struction of the organism. But, as Cato said, "it is a difficult task 
to argue with the stomach, which has no ears." Gluttony is the 
greatest sin which an individual can commit against himself. Of 
course, it is not easy to change established habits which have pre- 
vailed for generations. Let us apply the words of the Earl of 
Rosebery, Prime Minister of England and successor to Gladstone: 
"We cannot expect a nation to stride into perfection at once. It was 
only by slow painful efforts that a nation worked out its redemp- 
tion from darkness and ignorance." In fact, it would be an error 
and a tax on the system to change suddenly. Changes must be 
gradual. Meanwhile, the rich man should eat when he has a good 
stomach and the poor, when he can get a good meal. 

Some hae meat and canna eat, 

And some wad eat that want it, 

But we hae meat, and we can eat; 

Sae let the Lord be thank it. — Robert Burns 

The confusion and lack of discipline in the field of dietetics is 
mainly caused by the rivalry between the stomach and the palate, 
especially when the latter, as already remarked, is beyond the 
control of reason. Taste is the most indiscreet among our five 
senses. Also, it is unreliable. The same food or substance varies in 


taste with different individuals. An identical chemical compound 
will be tasteless to some persons} to others it will be bitter, sour, 
sweet or salty. Modern cookery is chiefly to be blamed for the ex- 
cesses in eating because it tries to flatter and tickle the palate and 
we cannot resist the temptations and the charms of taste. Culinary 
art has become very ingenious and persistent in provoking and 
maintaining unremitting appetite of the palate without taking into 
consideration the requirements and even the capacity of the stom- 
ach, which has to bear all the burden by receiving many times 
more food than it can manage. The palate has no responsibilities 
or toil} its only aspiration is to be pleased and satisfied. And how 
we accommodate that selfish desire and cater to its caprices, un- 
mindful of the penalties which we have to endure afterwards! 

The cunning strategy of modern culinary art is to create, by 
any means, false appetite. The result is: most impossible and harm- 
ful combinations. Foods which by themselves are salutary become 
injurious when combined. Meat, eggs, milk, starches, sweets and 
acids alone are digestible, but become heavy and indigestible when 
mixed. Ice cream is not objectionable but when eaten after a meal 
it will convert the otherwise digestible food to a state of decom- 
position. The Hebrew religion forbids eating meat and dairy 
products at the same time. Wrong food is not always the cause of 
trouble} a wrong mixture of good food is just as harmful. 

The hors d'oeuvre with all its innumerable salted, dyed, 
smoked, pickled and spiced varieties tends to irritate the stomach 
and induce it to oversecrete. The production of more than the 
normal amount of gastric juice creates a craving for more food to 
get rid of the excess irritating juices. Hot soup with all its condi- 
ments produces the same result. The gastric juice will welcome 
the inward-bound conglomeration as an affinity which will absorb 
it like a sponge. If the food is insufficient to absorb all the gastric 
juices and there is still acidosis, people will resort to bicarbonate 
of soda and hundreds of other digestive powders with which the 
medicine chests are richly stocked, to remain, as they say, on the 
"alkaline side." Occasionally victims perspire freely and feel faint 


on account of the toxic state and have to be taken to the air to ob- 
tain needed oxygen, which will assist to eliminate the surplus acid 
through increased respiration. 

Stimulated appetite is simply a forced craving for food, paral- 
lel to administering aphrodisiacs. And the happy possessor of the 
wonderful organ called the body, loaned to him by Nature for 
use during his lifetime, is satisfied and believes that he has pleased 
his belly, his false (and often his only) god. The French are past 
masters in this special art and it is not surprising that Montesquieu 
made the statement that dinner killed one-half the inhabitants of 
Paris, and supper the other half. We try to imitate the French, 
though rather poorly, if we take Dr. Wiley's word, who remarked 
that there is "no country in the world where food is so plentiful 
and so badly cooked as right here in the United States of America." 

Most people do not wait until the previous meal has been thor- 
oughly digested. "Sometimes to feast and sometimes to fast" — is 
not in their catechism. But there is a good remedy in modern Ma- 
teria Medica for everything (if not, the radio announcer will help 
you out) and the impatient epicures often resort to the extremely 
popular use of drastic purgatives to make room for the next, anx- 
iously awaited food and drink. We live in a rapid transit age! To 
all this we may add the destructive effect of another intemperate 
habit; namely the overindulgence in intoxicants, though, to be 
frank, Drunkenness is not half as disastrous (in physiological re- 
spects) as her demure sister, Gluttony, who claims incomparably 
more victims. The concentration of foods, e.g., essences, like beef 
broth (consomme), made from pounds of meat and marrow bones, 
is also an error. The system receives more nourishment than it is 
capable of using. Such principles are admissible if there is an ur- 
gent need of aliments, as in sickness, when the digestive organs 
are weakened, but not in everyday diet. Most of the so-called 
easily digestible foods are really indigestible because they are ab- 
sorbed before they have been properly prepared for assimilation. 
This is against all natural laws. Coarse foods have great advan- 
tages ; they require mastication which means use of the teeth, and 
salivation which helps digestion. Coarse food is retained longer 


in the stomach and incites it to activity — which renders food more 
homogeneous with our own body substances. 

Another harmful (though occasionally enjoyable) conventional 
practice of civilized races is to eat in company. A multitude of 
people are assembled, each one with individual requirements and 
tolerance, and served the same food. This is as impractical and in- 
feasible as to supply one size of shoes to a large number of people. 
But we are more congenial at banquet tables than in shoe stores. 
If not, a few drinks will make up for the ill-fit. (Shoe-stores really 
ought to adopt the same policy. It probably would expedite sales, 
as difficult as it is to please a disgruntled and sober customer.) 
Meals, by right, ought to be physiological and not social or family 
affairs. Tables "dressed up" with fancy china, silver and glass- 
ware, flowers and other ornaments distract the attention from the 
food. Dyspeptics, anemics, diabetics, young and old, fat and lean 
people, and those with low and high blood pressures, ought to eat 
in respective groups which would save much discomfort, the lure 
of temptation, hospital expenses, doctors' and surgeons' fees, etc. 
While small children eat in the nursery they get along well with 
their diet but as soon as they join the family table trouble com- 

A multitude of diseases, physical and mental, are due to the 
improper stoking of fuel. The "fire box" is sometimes in a fiery 
blaze but we still add more fuel, not even natural foods but too 
frequently artful explosives. The formed gases puff out (we call 
it belching, eructation, etc.) through all openings, which is really 
a blow-out of safety valves. The exquisite engine often ejects the 
objectionable matter (the act is designated in human language as 
vomiting, diarrhea, voiding, etc.) but the precious machine will 
soon be filled up and maltreated again with other noisome stuff. 
The forefront part of the "furnace", which is less reinforced by 
Mother Nature, possibly because such abuse was not anticipated 
(especially not in the case of man), bulges out, forming a corpo- 
ration or paunch, which signifies the beginning of the end, but the 
"handwriting on the wall" is still disregarded. Pliny suggested: 


"Simple diet is best} for many dishes bring many diseases." Will 
civilized man ever wake up and live? 

If man would eat frugally and adopt the rules of common sense, 
there would be few sick people and hardly any occasion for rem- 
edies, in a word, everybody would be his own physician — and he 
would never have had a better one. Physicians would then be re- 
duced to treating accidents and epidemic diseases. In modern Nazi 
Germany, efforts are being made by the authorities to reinstate 
Nature-Cure. With regard to medicines, there is lots of truth in 
the statement of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, "If all the medicine 
in the world were sunk into the sea it would be better for human- 
ity and worse for the fish." There is an old saying: "Many medi- 
cines produce few cures." King Solomon, on the other hand, must 
have been a great believer in medicines when he made the com- 
plimentary statement: "A merry heart doeth good like a medi- 


The human body, besides water, consists of proteins, carbohy- 
drates (starch and sugar), fats and inorganic substances, e.g., salts, 
calcium, phosphor, iron, iodine, etc. Each has its special function, 
and when utilized, must be replaced. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, 
minerals, vitamins and water are the basic elements in successful 
nutrition. The component parts of our food become transformed, 
through the highest degree of purification, into vital organs and 
organic fluids. 

Food and eating have three cardinal purposes: 

i. To satisfy hunger. Hunger is individual — depending on the 
physical and mental output of energy, size of the body and 
also on habit, which accounts for the fact that small people 
sometimes eat more. 

2. To rebuild wasted and used-up tissues, i.e., to replace the pro- 
teins, fats, limesalts and water. Proteins, both animal and vege- 
table, have as their main purpose the repair and formation of 


tissues. We also require phosphates, calcium and magnesium 
salts for the bones and body fluids, iron for blood-cells, lecithin 
for nerves, vitamins, etc. 

To produce heat and indirectly, energy. Motion, strength and 
thinking require energy. The body also emanates a consider- 
able amount of heat. Carbohydrates and fats are most impor- 
tant for generating and replacing heat and energy. In addi- 
tion, they spare proteins. Starches and sugars are converted in 
the alimentary canal, under the influence of various enzymes, 
into simple sugars (monosaccharides). After absorption into 
the portal circulation, simple sugars are carried to the liver 
where they are stored as glycogen. Under the influence of spe- 
cific hormones, the glycogen is converted to dextrose, which is 
stored in the tissues and gradually liberated into the blood to 
be oxidized through many intermediate steps into carbon diox- 
ide and water. Insulin plays an important part in the utiliza- 
tion of carbohydrates only after they reach the blood stream. 
This complex chemical process creates our heat and energy. 
In all the functions, the extremely active element, oxygen, a 
component of air and water, plays an essential, nay, vital part. 


SUGARS are carbon compounds which, when consumed by the 
human organism, undergo a process of physiological combus- 
tion and, as stated, create heat and energy. Sweets are vitally im- 
portant sources of dynamic energy and in this respect they surpass 
all other foodstuffs. They are the ever-ready generators of phys- 
ical and mental force. Sweets are not only indispensable as a source 
of heat and energy but they have a constructive effect because they 
produce fat which is a quasi-reserve fuel. 

The physiological value of sugars depends mainly on their 
character and origin, that is, whether they are natural or artificial. 
Natural sugars are sweets which prevail in Nature, for instance, 
in honey, fruits, vegetables, milk, etc. Artificial sugars are pre- 
pared, as a rule, from natural sugars by means of extraction and 

Natural sugars are directly and effectually digested, absorbed 
and assimilated and become oxidized through a process of com- 
bustion. Artificial sugars, like cane, beet, corn and maple, must be 
converted before ingestion. The main drawbacks of the artificial 
products are that they are highly concentrated and have the effect 
of explosive substances. They oxidize violently in the system at 
the slightest contact with oxygen. Oxygen, though it constitutes 
only one-fifth of the air, is a very active element. Artificial sugars 
interfere with oxidation of less ignitible nitrogenous materials, 
such as proteins. We could compare the effect of artificial sugars 
on the system with that of highly explosive substances added to 
fuels in automobile engines. The engine would soon be destroyed ; 
in the same manner as our liver, kidneys and lungs are affected, 



resulting in high blood-pressure, cellular asphyxia, diabetes, ar- 
thritis and innumerable other complications. While artificial sugars 
during their process of oxidation flare up in the system like straw 
fire, they create a rapid but brief stimulation, without nutritive 
benefits. If these sugars are taken in excess they will pass through 
the kidneys unchanged and remain in the system as poisons, pro- 
ducing instead of the required heat and energy, decay and degen- 
eration. Artificial sugars are especially harmful in renal diseases 
and for high-strung individuals. Many nervous states can be at- 
tributed to excessive sugar consumption. Natural sugars transform 
in the system into beneficial natural acids instead of into harmful 
acids which are created by the sundry juggled, so-called refined 

While natural aliments are rarely harmful under normal con- 
ditions, we should always view artificially prepared food sub- 
stances with a certain mistrust, especially when consumed in large 
quantities as in the case of cane or other artificial sugars. To our 
detriment, however, we do not seem to realize the dangerous 
habit which we have gradually acquired. If someone should "try" 
to introduce today artificial eggs, milk or fat he would be accorded 
a very cold reception. 

Primitive races are healthier by far than civilized ones. They 
live on simple natural nutriments and do not indulge in artificial 
foods which, as a rule, are stimulating. They consume more fruit 
sugars and vegetable albumens. Of course, our swift modern life 
requires rapid metabolism to create or replace the much needed 
physical and mental energy and we resort to stimulating foods 
which are rarely nourishing. 

Natural sugars are not only stimulating but are also nutritive. 
On the West Indian plantations the negroes during the harvest 
season grow fat on the juices of the sugar-cane. The children suck 
the cane with avidity and likewise thrive on the juice. Domestic 
animals, horses, cattle and pigs, even dogs, grow fat from eating 
the cane. On the other hand, animals fed on artificial sugar be- 
come feeble and sick. With regard to the effect of sugar-cane on 


teeth, there are no people on earth who have finer teeth than the 
negroes of Jamaica. 

Simple or natural sugars, like dextrose and levulose, which 
honey contains, are monosaccharides, i.e., they have only one 
sugar radicle to the molecule. Sucrose, lactose and maltose are 
disaccharides; starch, dextrin, glycogen, etc., are polysaccharides. 
The two latter groups must first be hydrolized. All carbohydrates 
must be changed, first, into simple sugars, monosaccharides, be- 
fore they are assimilated. This is the best proof of the value of 
honey, as it is a predigested substance. 


HONEY, a most assimilable carbohydrate compound, is a sin- 
gularly acceptable, practical and most effective aliment to 
generate heat, create and replace energy, and furthermore, to 
form certain tissues. Honey, besides, supplies the organism with 
substances for the formation of enzymes and other biological fer- 
ments to promote oxidation. It has distinct germicidal properties 
and in this respect greatly differs from milk which is an excep- 
tionally good breeding-ground for bacteria. Honey is a most valu- 
able food, which today is not sufficiently appreciated. Its frequent 
if not daily use is vitally important. 

The universal and natural craving for sweets of some kind 
proves best that there is a true need for them in the human system. 
Children, who expend lots of energy, have a real "passion" for 
sweets. This is really instinct. Proteins will replace and build tis- 
sues but it is the function and assignment of carbohydrates to cre- 
ate and replace heat and energy, and to provide what we call 

Honey, which contains two invert sugars, levulose and dextrose, 
has many advantages as a food substance. While cane-sugar and 
starches, as already intimated, must undergo during digestion a 
process of inversion which changes them into grape and fruit- 
sugars, in honey this is already accomplished because it has been 
predigested by the bees, inverted and concentrated. This saves the 
stomach additional labor. For a healthy human body, which is ca- 
pable of digesting sugar, the actuality that honey is an already 
predigested sugar has less importance, but in a case of weak diges- 
tion, especially in those who lack invertase and amylase and de- 


pend on monosaccharides, it is a different matter and deserves con- 

The consummation of this predigestive act is accomplished by 
the enzymes invertase, amylase and catalase, which are produced 
by the worker bees in such large quantities that they can be found 
in every part of their bodies. However, there is plenty of it left in 
honey for our benefit. The remarkable convertive power of these 
enzymes can be proven by a simple experiment. If we add one or 
two tablespoonfuls of raw honey to a pint of concentrated solu- 
tion of sucrose, the mixture will soon be changed into invert sugar. 
The addition of boiled honey, in which the enzymes have been 
destroyed, will not accomplish such a change. 

The frequent Biblical references to milk and honey demon- 
strate the importance of these two oldest aliments. Neither, how- 
ever, is a complete food nor a proper nutriment alone for a long 
period of time. They are effective only to supplement deficiencies 
of other food substances. 

Milk has many drawbacks. As mentioned, it is an excellent 
breeding medium for bacteria. The inhabitants of the East quickly 
sour the milk of cows, goats, sheep, mares and camels and prepare 
curds and cheese from it, because in warm climates milk cannot be 
preserved otherwise. Honey, on the other hand, requires little at- 
tention and does not deteriorate even in the tropics. Honey has 
often been given preference over milk. It is not surprising that 
Van Helmont gave milk the epithet, "brute's food" and suggested 
bread, boiled in beer and honey, as a substitute. Liebig also rec- 
ommended a substitute for milk. Honey has many advantages as 
a staple article of diet to secure optimum nutrition. 


Honey, a sweet, thick, viscid fluid of agreeable taste and aro- 
matic odor, is collected by the honeybees from the nectaries of 
flowers, swallowed, assimilated in their honey-stomachs (crops), 


regurgitated, stored and thoroughly ripened in the cells of the 
combs. This supplies them, their young, the idle drones. and . . . 
mankind with nourishment. It is also a precautionary measure so 
that they and their progeny will be provided with food during 
seasons when there are no more flowers available. What the bees 
extract from the flowers is named nectar, a sweet juice which is 
stored in the special containers of the flowers called nectaries. This 
luscious drink lures bees and other insects to flowers as an induce- 
ment to perform their vocation, the pollination of trees and plants. 
Nectar is their reward for these services. (Dr. A. W. Bennett 
thought that the perfume of flowers is generally derived from 
their nectars.) It is a singular combination, a friendly cooperation 
between the most admired and beloved objects on earth, flowers, 
and the most detested and feared creatures, insects.* 

Taste, color shading, flavor and density of honeys greatly dif- 
fer. There are various methods to determine the gradings of 
honey colors. The color depends entirely on the flowers from 
which the honey is collected. Honey has normally a whitish color, 
tinged with yellow. There are, however, brown, red, green and 
even black honeys. Clover and fireweed are typical white honeys; 
golden-rod, eucalyptus, marigold, magnolia and some poplar are 
amber colored ; thistle is green ; buckwheat and heather have a 
dark color. In Africa, green honey is found in red combs; in Rus- 
sia and Brazil there is black, and in Siberia, snow-white honey. 

The density (specific gravity) of honey varies. The standard 
weight of honey is about 12 pounds to a gallon. If it is less, the 
honey is considered too thin, and if more, the reverse. 

There are as many kinds of honey flavors as there are varieties 
of trees and flowers. Honey is the quintessence of flowers and its 
savoriness depends on the fragrance of the blooms, just as the 
varieties of wine depend on the grapes from which they are ob- 
tained. The savoriness of meats also depends upon the food on 
which animals feed. This applies even to human beings! The can- 
nibals of Australia do not find carnivorous white people delectable 

* The name flower in itself reflects on honey. It is derived from flow, of 
course, of nectar (flos florum). 


because their flesh produces nausea, which the flesh of the vege- 
table-fed black or yellow races will not provoke. The rice-fed 
Chinese are considered among them a great delicacy and Carl 
Lumholtz describes (Among Cannibals) how ten Chinamen had 
been consumed and relished at one dinner. Flesh-eating influences 
not only the taste but also the odor of the organic tissues of all 
creatures. The Chinese dogs bark at foreigners. Carl Crow, in 
Four Hundred Million Customers, relates that on many occasions 
in Shanghai he stepped from a house-boat, bathed, shaved, redo- 
lent of the odor of soap, as immaculate as a male can be, and in a 
few minutes every dog to the windward of him had registered an 
anguished protest. The dogs seemed to act as though he were a 
fox or had the uncured pelt of a skunk in his pocket. He relates 
that the dogs always raise a terrible hubbub any time foreigners — 
even charming alien ladies — pass, but never bark at natives. Some 
would believe that the dogs' aversion might be due to the cloth- 
ing but a Chinese may pass in continental attire and the dogs will 
ignore him. We Occidentals acquire a peculiar and irritating 
aroma through years of meat-eating while the Chinese are either 
odorless or more delicately scented because of their diet of rice, 
barley, cabbage and fish. The Chinese are rarely uncomplimen- 
tary but "confidentially" they will intimate that we have a rather 
offensive and nauseating odor. They believe we badly need the 
frequent traditional bath which is, however, only of little benefit. 
We, as a rule, do not eat carnivorous quadrupeds and birds ; the 
meats we consume are basically composed of plants and seeds. The 
Hebrews are permitted to eat the meat of animals that "chew the 
cud and divide the hoof and birds which are not scavengers." 

The honey of Mount Hymettus, gathered from thyme, the 
Hyblean honey of Sicily, the Cretan honey of Mount Carina and 
that of Cyprus and Cos were best known in antiquity. The famous 
Hungarian Acacia honey is collected from the redolent acacia 
flowers {Robinia -pseudacacia), out of which also one of the sweet- 
est smelling perfumes is manufactured. White clover, linden, 
orange blossom, thyme, buckwheat, sage, raspberry, etc., produce 
delicious honeys, each with its individual flavor. Persia, Malta and 


Florida are well known honey-producing centers. The rosemary 
honey of Narbonne and that of Languedoc are popular in France, 
so is the honey of Grasse, where many acres of fragrant jasmine 
blooms are planted, their essence being in great demand by the 
perfume manufacturers. The honey of Narbonne is white, granu- 
lar and highly aromatic. It is often imitated by the addition of an 
infusion made from rosemary flowers. Another well-liked prod- 
uct of France, the honey of Gatinais, is usually white but not as 
odorous and granulates less easily than the honey of Narbonne. 
Honeys collected from the flowers of sycamore trees and goose- 
berry bushes, though of sea-green color, are unsurpassed in excel- 
lence. If there is a sufficient supply of the same flowers, the honey 
will be uniform and of a definite type, otherwise it will be a mix- 
ture of nectars and the flavor will depend on the blooms which 
predominate. Honey-growers often mix several honeys and pro- 
duce a blend to suit individual taste. In spite of the divergencies 
in honeys, with regard to their color, flavor and consistency, their 
food value is essentially the same. About two hundred and fifty 
varieties of honey are produced in the United States out of which 
only twenty-five are distributed commercially. Clover honey pre- 
dominates among these (about 60%). 

Nectar has to undergo some changes before it is converted into 
honey. The nectar is mixed by the bees with saliva and changed 
into a digestible substance. Honey is also made from other sub- 
stances besides nectar, e.g., from honeydew. This extra-floral 
honey is collected by the bees from the foliage of certain plants. 
Honeydew is not solely a product of plant secretion because it is 
secreted, or rather excreted (it is a waste product), by certain fam- 
ilies of insects, principally plant-lice, aphids. This dew, a gummy, 
glossy, sweet substance, ejected in abundant quantities from the 
end of their abdomens by the insects, often imparts to the foliage 
the appearance of having been coated with varnish. At certain 
times, especially on hot and dry days, honeydew drips from the 
leaves like rain. The ancients thought that it fell from heaven. 
They called it the saliva of the stars (saliva siderum). Charles 
Butler remarked: "The greatest plenty of purest nectar cometh 


from above, which Almighty God miraculously distils out of the 
air." Honeydew is more easily gathered by the bees than nectar 
but produces a honey of inferior quality on account of the impuri- 
ties it contains, since it is exposed to air. This honey is not much 
favored because it has an unpleasant taste and is generally used 
for baking purposes, for the manufacture of lubricants and other 
industrial supplies. Honeydew is not even good as a winter food 
for bees. It is really the most undesirable among all honeys.* 
Coleridge thought differently when he sang in Kubla Khan: 

"He on honey-dew hath fed, 
And drank the milk of Paradise." 

The honeydew exuded by certain coniferous trees (fir trees) is of 
better quality. The famous German Waldhonig of the Black For- 
est is such a product. 

Honey is made also by other species of bees and by diverse in- 
sects, e.g., by some ants and wasps, but when we speak of honey, 
we mean the produce of the honey-bee. In Ethiopia there are 
mosquito-like honey-making insects. The honey which they pro- 
duce is called tazma, and is considered an excellent remedy for 
throat ailments. The honey-making ants in South America are 
eaten by the natives who rate them a delicacy on account of their 
sweet taste. The stingless bees (Trigona and Melipona), aborig- 
ines of the Americas and Australia, also produce honey which is 
rather thin but of agreeable odor. The natives prefer it to the 
honey of the white man's stinging fly and also attribute a greater 
remedial value to it. 

The season of the year has considerable influence on honey. 
There is spring, summer and fall honey ; summer honey, made on 
dry days, is best. Fall honey is usually darker in color. Nectar is 
amply secreted on dry and warm days. Pliny calls summer honey, 
"season honey" and adds, "Nature has revealed in this substance 
most remarkable properties to mortals, were it not that the fraud- 
ulent propensities of man are apt to falsify and corrupt every- 

* The ancients called it tree-honey in contrast with bee-honey. 


thing." PJiny continues, "If the honey is taken at the rising of the 
Sirius, and if the ascent of Venus, Jupiter or Mercury should hap- 
pen to fall on the same day, as often is the case, the sweetness of 
the substance and the virtue which it possesses of restoring men 
to life, are not inferior to those attributed to the nectar of the 
gods." (Book XI. 14) "Such crop must be gathered at full moon 
and is richest when the weather is fine." (Ibid.) 

Honey is marketed in combs or in liquid form. The latter is ex- 
tracted from the combs, as a rule, by centrifugal force. During 
highpowered extraction which is in vogue today, undoubtedly 
some volatile bodies are lost. This may account for the somewhat 
superior taste of comb honey. A vacuum method of extraction may- 
be worthy of consideration. In former years, liquid honey was ob- 
tained by pressing and straining the honey from the combs, a 
method not nearly as successful, because strained honey contains 
a considerable sediment of wax, pollen and other foreign sub- 
stances. Besides, it was a wasteful performance as it ruined the 
combs which today, with the aid of modern extracting methods, 
can be used again, saving time, labor and material for the bees. It 
is now a question whether the old-fashioned method of straining 
was not, from a therapeutic viewpoint, more beneficial, consider- 
ing the fact that the residual brood pap and pollen contain pro- 
tein. To this we may also add the presence of enzymes, which have 
an important digestive value. 

Liquid honey is almost as good as comb honey and is simpler 
to handle. Comb honey looks attractive only if the wax is fresh 
and white and not yet darkened by age. White honeycombs are 
obtained only when the honey flow is fast and the cells are quickly 
filled. Honey producers often remove combs prematurely for the 
sake of a better appearance. This practice is a drawback because 
the honey is too liquid and not yet fully ripened. Fresh, immature 
honey sours and lacks aroma. Comb honey is, on the average, 
50% more expensive because, as mentioned, valuable wax is 
wasted. The so-called virgin honey, often mentioned by ancient 
writers, is supposed to have been made by young bees. The ex- 


pression is rarely used in modern terminology ; young bees do not 
produce honey of any sort because they do not visit the fields. 

Honey, like other sugars in solution, undergoes crystallization, 
commonly called granulation. It sometimes becomes as hard as 
candy. This occurs usually in dry climates where there is little 
atmospheric humidity and honey cannot absorb water. 

The three component sugars in honey must be in natural pro- 
portion to prevent granulation. Water content, temperature and 
motion are important factors. Tropical honeys, as a rule, remain 
in a liquid state. Immobility assists granulation. Dextrose granu- 
lates rapidly and honeys which contain an excess of dextrose, like 
alfalfa honey, will quickly form crystals. Levulose is very hygro- 
scopic and honeys rich in levulose are not prone to granulate. Tu- 
pelo and sage honey are of this type. Sucrose (saccharose) also 
hastens crystallization while dextrin retards or prevents it. The 
high sucrose and low dextrin contents of honey will increase the 
crystallization speed ; on the other hand, low sucrose and high 
dextrin contents will lower it or crystallization will be absent. 
Alin Caillas established the crystallization speed quotient, as 

8% sucrose and 0.12% dextrin contents, granulation speed 0.5. 

3% sucrose and 5% dextrin contents, granulation speed 7.0. 

3 % sucrose and 11% dextrin contents, there is no granulation at all. 

Granulated honey is easily made liquid in a tepid water bath. 
Honey should never be heated above 160 F. or for too long a 
time because heating, though it retards granulation and prevents 
fermentation, will rob honey of its flavor, taste, minerals, pro- 
teins, diastatic ferments and vitamins. Cooked honey quickly 
spoils, although if hermetically sealed, it remains liquid and good 
for years. In Europe and Canada people prefer granulated honey 
instead of the liquid because they know that it is pure and is not 
spoiled through heating. Granulation of honey is a quasi evidence 
of purity. Honey dealers sell liquid honey because the customers 
demand it. 


Honey should never be kept or stored in an icebox or in the 
cellar. It is too hygroscopic and it will absorb, condense and re- 
tain moisture. A dry and not too warm place and a tightly closed 
container are most desirable. Honey does not spoil easily and will 
keep almost indefinitely. There is no other foodstuff which re- 
quires less attention. According to the September 1913, issue of 
the National Geographic Magazine, T. M. Davis, the American 
explorer, during his excavations in Egypt (the tomb of Queen 
Tyi's parents) was startled by the discovery of a jar of honey, 
still in a fairly liquid state, with its characteristic aroma preserved 
after 3300 years. Honey, of course, will deteriorate with age, like 
all organic substances, its color turning deep red, even black. The 
Egyptian report could be rationally explained by assuming that 
the jars had been hermetically sealed. Our honey producers should 
find in this discovery an inducement to pack their honey in air- 
tight containers. The glazed earthen jars of the Egyptians should 
also be an object lesson because tin and new glassware are not free 
from acids, alkalies and mineral sediments which influence the ac- 
tion of enzymes. Tin containers should be carefully lacquered and 
glass should be sterilized. Extractors, pumps, piping, strainers and 
tanks must be thoroughly cleaned with steam. 

Many housewives think that honey is not convenient for use 
because it is messy and sticky. It must be conceded that granulated, 
powdered and lump sugars are easier to handle than this bottled 
sunshine. A dripless syrup-pitcher, the so-called drip-cut dis- 
penser, however, easily solves the problem. Placing a pitcher or 
jar in warm but not hot water for ten minutes will make honey 
thin and free of stickiness and then it can be drizzled over salads, 
fruits or any other food without making them too sweet. Thin 
honey will penetrate the tissues of the food substances. Mixing 
honey with hot water will serve the selfsame purpose and will 
also reduce the sweetness of honey. 

To recapitulate the physical characteristics of honey there are 
four distinct features which contribute to the evaluation of honey 
as a commodity. These four attributes are: 


i . Taste 

2. Color 

3. Aroma, and 

4. Consistency 

With regard to the worth of these qualities, as a rule, sixty 
points are given to taste, twenty points to color and ten points each 
for aroma and consistency. 

Taste, of course, is a preeminent consideration, depending on 
the palate. It is entirely individual. Each person will select or 
prefer a different honey. The same discrimination applies to 
aroma and consistency. With respect to color, certain people, with 
expressed visual senses, prefer white, others amber, some even 
darker shaded honeys. The American buckwheat and the European 
heather honey are dark colored and highly flavored. Heather 
honey is of such density that it is difficult to extract it with cen- 
trifugal apparatus. 

Entirely too much attention is paid by apiculturists to the fine 
grading of honeys according to color. The Department of Agri- 
culture designed a colorimeter, honey grader, to determine ex- 
actly the color shadings. This has really less value than is attached 
to it. Undoubtedly, dark honeys are rich in mineral contents, com- 
pared to light ones, but the practice of making a delicate distinc- 
tion of the intermediate colors seems to be insignificant from a 
nutrimental or medicinal standpoint. Dark honeys contain more 
iron and it seems that the color of honey is dependent on the med- 
icinal value of the plants from which they are extracted. The 
Hebrews prefer dark honey for baking their honey cakes. 

We may compare the selection of light and dark colored honeys 
to our discrimination between blondes and brunettes. Many peo- 
ple (also countries) fancy light honey and they also "prefer 
blondes", though dark honeys, like brunettes, possess higher min- 
eral contents, especially iron, and, on account of that, more power. 
Connoisseurs will select dark honeys and . . . brunettes. Not only 
the color but also the aroma of honey is closely correlated with its 
chemical composition. 


There are various mechanical devices to change the consistency, 
color and taste of honey. These procedures do not detract from 
the nutritive value of honey and their sole purpose is to cater to 
certain tastes. Honey-frost, whip-honey, etc., are light and creamy 
and are favored by many. 


Honey belongs to the carbohydrate group of foods (sugars and 
starches), and is mainly a watery solution of two invert sugars, 
dextrose (glucose or grape sugar) and levulose (fructose or fruit 
sugar), in nearly equal proportions. The terms dextrose and levu- 
lose originated from the use of the two prefixes, dexter (right) 
and levis (left), because the former turns the polarized light to 
the right and the latter, to the left. These two invert sugars we 
may call natural or simple sugars because they are readily ab- 
sorbed by the bloodstream without requiring the assistance of the 
salivary, gastric or intestinal secretions to accomplish the process 
of inversion. Cane and some other artificial sugars must first be 
inverted into simple sugars before they are assimilated. 

In addition to the two invert sugars, honey contains aromatic 
volatile oils, which bestow its flavor, mineral elements (sodium, 
potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, etc.), 
some protein, various enzymes, vitamins and coloring matter. 
With regard to the vitamin content of honey, there are consider- 
able disputes about the subject among research workers. Hoyle, 
of the Lister Institute in London, Hawk, Smith and Bergheim al- 
lege that honey is deficient in vitamins. Dutcher thinks that there 
is a small vitamin content in honey but the amount is negligible. 
Faber believes that there is "probably" no antiscorbutic vitamin 
present in honey. French scientists, such as A. L. Clement, L. 
Iches, Laborde and others, however, found vitamins in honey, 
though in minute quantities; they are water-soluble B and C and 
fat-soluble A vitamins. Alin Caillas, the well-known agricultural 
chemist of France, remarks (Les tresors d'une goutte de miel, 
1924) that plants contain vitamins and that honey, produced from 


fluids which circulate in their organic tissues under the beneficial 
influence of the sun, must contain vitamins though we are unable 
to determine exactly their presence. We might call the vitamins 
sparks which ignite food substances. 

The main chemical components of honey (in percentages) are: 

T f dextrose, 36.20 

Invert sugars 73-31 -s 1 1 

& /J J ^ levulose, 37.11 

Sucrose (cane-sugar) 2.63 

Dextrin 2.89 

Nitrogen substances 1.08 

Water 18.96 

Ash 0.24 

These component parts vary in different honeys. Honey is solu- 
ble in water, is of distinctly acid reaction and becomes vinous by 
fermentation. Its specific gravity is 1.40 to 1.45, that is, it is heav- 
ier than water. While a gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, a gal- 
lon of honey weighs 12 pounds. It is a rather perplexing problem 
to decide whether honey is a vegetable or animal product. Consid- 
ering, however, the fact that the bees make honey also from white 
sugar (in which all vegetable components are destroyed) we ought 
to place honey in the latter group. 

Of the two invert sugars, levulose is of greater importance. 
While dextrose is half as sweet as cane-sugar, levulose is twice as 
sweet. Levulose is an ideal sweet, the sweetest of all sugars in Na- 
ture and would be the sugar of the future if chemists could suc- 
ceed in manufacturing it at a fair selling price. Today the price of 
chemically pure levulose is prohibitive (several dollars a pound) 
because it is difficult to produce in large quantities. Some chico- 
ries, dahlia bulbs and the Jerusalem artichoke (nothing to do with 
the Holy City, the name is merely corrupted from the French 
plant girasole) are rich in levulose (12-15%). Levulose is most 
soluble, delightful in flavor and is easily assimilated. It is the 
most valuable potential energy creator for the human system be- 
cause it is an excellent glycogen (animal starch) producer. Gly- 


cogen is deposited in the muscles and especially in the liver, where 
it is available and may be rechanged into dextrose to furnish en- 
ergy by oxidation. Levulose absorbs slowly and does not cause rise 
in blood sugar (hyperglycemia) which is the reason that it can be 
used by diabetic patients. The absorption of levulose is so tardy 
that it often reaches the large intestines, to which contingency 
some of the laxative effect of honey may be attributed. 

Honey, as mentioned, is of acid reaction. Various authors be- 
lieve that the bees inject or spray some venom (which is also of 
acid reaction) into each comb. This is supposed to impart an anti- 
fermentative, antiseptic and conserving quality to honey. Many 
scientists differ on this point. Dr. Phillips, Professor of Apicul- 
ture, Cornell University, Ithaca, thinks that there is not a shred 
of truth in the statement that honey contains bee venom. He adds 
that "no acid is necessary to preserve honey, for it is such a con- 
centrated solution of sugars that fermentation cannot occur if 
honey is fully ripened." According to Dr. Phillips, honey contains 
yeasts of a peculiar sort, commonly called nectar yeasts or "sugar 
tolerant" yeasts which are able to grow only in certain concentra- 
tions of sugar. Honey is normally just above the limit of the sugar 
content under which these yeasts commence to sprout. The iden- 
tical process takes place when honey granulates. The incoming 
nectar is thin, therefore the excess water must be eliminated to 
prevent fermentation. The United States Pure Food Law permits 
no more than 8% of sucrose in honey but most honey contains 
much less than that amount. 

Returning to the subject of venom in honey, it is difficult, al- 
most impossible to comprehend the intricacies of the complex biol- 
ogy and physiology of the bees and more so of their bewildering 
chemistry. Bee venom is not a digestive ferment like the venom 
of snakes. It must have some other purpose than that of punishing 
transgressors or even of curing arthritics. The remarkable and age- 
old curative effect of honey in external use cannot be attributed 
alone to its sugar content and hygroscopic power. It is more than 
a conjecture that bee venom may impart some advantages to 
honey (Alin Caillas). Needless to say, a minute quantity of 


venom would not make honey harmful as a food because our di- 
gestive ferments readily destroy even large quantities of bee 
venom. If it were not for that fact, the author would surmise that 
the presence of venom (though admittedly not chemically proven) 
might confer some benefits on honey when taken internally. 

The acid reaction of honey may also be due to minute quanti- 
ties (i/io of i per cent) of lactic, succinic, citric and malic acids. 
Malic acid has a rather pleasant taste. It is found in some apples 
(from which it has derived its name) and in other plants and sour 
fruits. Currants contain an especially large quantity of malic acid. 
On the other hand, the statement that honey contains formic acid 
is based on a misconception, or rather, it is an error of chemistry. 
The age-old belief that bee venom contains formic acid is also a 
fallacy. It is remarkable that even the latest medical and chemical 
works have failed to correct this misstatement. Theodore Merl, in 
1 92 1, through carefully conducted chemical experiments proved 
that bee venom does not contain the slightest trace of formic acid, 
because the most sensitive tests were negative. Fiehe and Farn- 
steiner conducted numerous experiments which also proved, be- 
yond any doubt, that the average honey does not contain formic 
acid. The former misconception was possibly due to the fact that 
silver nitrate reagents were used for the tests. 

Reverting to the mineral constituents of honey, usually called 
ash, this is an extremely important consideration. Bones contain a 
considerable amount of calcium, and muscles, about 3 to 4% of 
mineral substances. During osmotic and oxidative processes many 
mineral elements are utilized which must be replaced and for this 
purpose honey is very useful. 

Honey derives its greatest mineral content from plants; the 
ultimate mineral source of plants is, again, the soil in which they 
grow. In a word, the inorganic substances which honey contains 
are indirectly dependent on the soil, which is the reason the min- 
eral constituents of honey greatly vary. A good fertilizer of the 
soil will also improve honey. It is an old English saying: "Where 
there is the best honey, there is also the best wool." 

Bees require mineral substances for their maintenance. Dried 


bees contain almost 5% ash. This explains the popularity of 
burned bees in ancient medicine. Of course, bees do not obtain all 
minerals from plants ; hard water will also contribute its share. 
Bees fed on sugar-syrup lack minerals. 

The mineral content of honey is not high ; it is about one-fourth 
that of meat and a little less than that of milk. It seems, however, 
that the quality of the minerals makes honey valuable for dietetic 
use. Dark colored honey contains more minerals, mainly iron, 
copper and manganese which makes it especially fit for medicinal 
purposes. People who prefer light honey to dark make a great 
error. Heather honey is the richest in ash. Dark honey has a higher 
specific gravity j one "drop" of it will travel faster and also goes 
"further" in the organism. 

The comparative analyses of ten samples of light and dark 
honeys in ash content, according to Schuette, in milligrams per 
kilogram, is the following: 



Copper Manganese 

Light honeys 



.29 .06 

Dark honeys 



.56 .32 

The consumption of dark honeys, which have a higher manga- 
nese content, possibly contribute to intensifying glorified mater- 
nal love. The experiments of Dr. Elmer V. McCollum of Johns 
Hopkins University prove that lack of manganese will cause 
mother rats and guinea pigs to refuse to cuddle or nurse their 
young. When these animals were fed an infinitesimal bit of man- 
ganese chloride the mother instinct was immediately awakened. 

The following figures give the mineral constituents of thirty- 
four 100 gram samples of average honeys in milligrams. (Elser 
and Sundberg) : 

Phosphoric acid 56.93 

Iron 1.80 

Manganese .48 

Chlorine 16.37 


Calcium 15.86 

Silicates 8.91 

Magnesium 5.48 

Potassium 1 49. 40 

Sodium 23.37 

In establishing the relative difference of the sweetness of honey 
and other sugars, a tabulation of the comparative sweetness of 
various types of sugars, expressed in units, will be useful : 

Levulose 173 

Invert sugars 123 

Cane-sugar 1 00 

Glucose 74 

Maltose 32 

Galactose 23 

Lactose 16 

The hygroscopic quality of honey, as mentioned, is mainly due 
to levulose and to the colloidal substances which honey contains. 
Honey far excels molasses, commercial glucose and malt syrup in 
moisture-retaining power. Levulose is most hygroscopic among 
all sugars. 


EXPERIMENTS conducted in feeding animals with refined 
sugar to determine its effect on them have so far not been 
sufficient or thorough enough to clearly and conclusively estab- 
lish its worth. One fact has been proven, that animals live longer 
without, food whatsoever than when fed on refined sugar. The 
effect of refined sugar on human beings is entirely empirical. 
It is possible and probable that it does more harm than we know 
or suspect. Considering the vital importance of the subject, science 
has done comparatively less research on foodstuffs, and on cor- 
recting our depraved and vicious habits in nutrition (and habit is 
second nature) than in any other field ; to discuss this point, how- 
ever, is much beyond our scope. 

We must distinguish between sugar-cane products in general 
and refined sugars. The juice of the sugar-cane is a valuable and 
wholesome nutrimental substance. Sugar-cane syrup is an excel- 
lent sweetener without objectionable qualities. Whoever has eaten 
Chinese candy will understand the meaning of this statement. 
The so-called Chinese candy is an ideal product and is used to 
sweeten coffee, tea and other beverages. It is bright, transparent 
and of exquisite taste, similar to our rock-candy. The name, 
candy according to some philologists, is derived from the Latin 
Candida: bright, pure. Refining sugar in loafs was never prac- 
ticed in the East. 

The history of sugar is rather interesting. In spite of the fact 
that refined sugar was introduced for popular use comparatively 
late, we find traces of its existence as far back as several centu- 
ries b.c. Theophrastus, Pliny, Strabo and Seneca mention sugar 



and sugar-cane. Theophrastus (320 b.c.) called sugar "honey 
extracted from reeds" which looked like salt. It was very prob- 
ably inspissated cane- juice. Aristotle was the first to give a de- 
tailed description of the substance. Sugar was then a great rarity 
and used exclusively for medicinal purposes. Many ancient au- 
thors referred to sugar as honey. Varro (68 b.c.) thought there 
were three kinds of honeys, one collected by the bees from flow- 
ers, another type formed on the leaves as dew and the third, 
obtained from the "Indian reed." 

Nearchus, Admiral of the fleet of Alexander the Great, re- 
turning to Greece from the discovery of the Indian Ocean (324 
b.c), brought back with him "sugar-candy" and a marvelous 
"honey-bearing reed" which was used by the natives of India. 
Candy making has been practiced in China since remotest an- 
tiquity; their confections were exported in large quantities to 
India, but the source and how they were made was a well-guarded 
secret for thousands of years. The actual knowledge of the origin 
of sugar-cane was first revealed in the middle of the thirteenth 
century by the celebrated traveler, Marco Polo. 

The plant was soon taken to Arabia, Nubia, Egypt, Ethiopia, 
where it was extensively cultivated. Some sugar-cane was found 
in Sicily, Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus at an early period, possibly 
brought there from India by the Saracens. 

The Spaniards conveyed sugar-cane from the East only in the 
fifteenth century, and successfully planted it in Madeira and the 
Canary Islands. From there, in the sixteenth century, it was taken 
to St. Domingo and to other West Indian islands and to South 
America. Though it is generally believed that the home of sugar- 
cane was China, some explorers record having found sugar-cane 
in Brazil before the Spaniards and Portuguese had a chance to 
plant it there. Father Hennepin, who was the first European to 
explore the lower Mississippi regions, reported that he found 
sugar-cane even there. 

Sugar-cane was imported in the seventeenth century from 
Arabia to the European Continent where it gradually gained 
ground. Sugar-cane syrup was a great luxury; the privilege of 


royalty and the highest nobility, and used even by them only on 
special occasions. They also found several medicinal uses for it. 
Honey was still the dominant sweet, and not until the end of the 
eighteenth century did sugar gradually supersede it. Within the 
last two generations, through the efforts of a technically perfected 
industry, sugar has become one of the cheapest of food substances, 
so low in price that even the poorest families can afford to buy it. 



HONEY contains about 1600 calories (calorie is the amount 
of heat which is necessary to raise the temperature of one 
gram of water by one degree Celsius) to the pound and is at the 
head, in this respect, of all other natural foods, far exceeding 
meat, eggs, milk, grains and vegetables. The date is the only 
edible substance which surpasses honey in calories. 

The caloric value of honey nearly equals that of cane-sugar 
(1800 cal.) but in every other respect it is far superior. If honey 
contained no water its caloric value would be practically the same 
as that of cane-sugar. A tablespoonful of honey weighs about an 
ounce and provides the body with 100 calories. Honey does not 
contain any harmful chemicals and is entirely utilized by the 
digestive tract. Not more than one two-hundredth part is wasted. 
Commercial or white sugar, made from sugar-cane, beets, corn, 
etc., is submitted to several complicated boiling procedures during 
the process of manufacture. The organic acids, protein, nitrogen 
elements, fats, enzymes and vitamins are extracted or destroyed 5 
on the other hand, hydrochloric, phosphoric and sulphuric acids, 
lime and other foreign substances are added. While honey is 
Nature's own sweet, untouched by human art, sugar is a concen- 
trated, denatured and polluted substitute, a produce, as a rule, of 
sugar-cane, robbed by superheating of most of its natural and 
valuable constituents. Honey and other simple or natural sugars, 
like that in dates, figs, raisins, etc., are live physiological sugars 
which contain the germs of life, while industrial sugars are anti- 
physiological, dead or, as a matter of fact, murdered sweets. Brown 
sugar contains some minerals, but white sugar is entirely demin- 



eralized because it will not crystallize if any minerals remain. The 
first step in the manufacture of sugar is to neutralize the free 
acids of the cane- juice. Cane- juice is quite dark in color because 
of its mineral constituents. To remove the sugar from the cane- 
juice it is treated with the fumes of burning sulphur or heated 
with bisulphide of lime. The process in industrial language is 
called "defecation". The lime neutralizes all acids and prevents 
the cane-sugar from changing into an uncrystallizable invert 

Clarence W. Leib, in Eat, Drink, and be Healthy, remarks that 
sugar undermines the nation's health and that the best sugars are 
simple sugars, liberally supplied by nature in honey, fruits and 
vegetables. They require little digestive effort for assimilation. 
White sugar depresses the appetite, irritates the stomach, pro- 
duces heart-burn, acid fermentation, gastric catarrh, indigestion, 
exhausts the pancreatic activity and thus leads to diabetes. The 
ravages of artificial sugar increase in proportion to the degree of 
its refinement. Refined sugar is not only irritating to the intestinal 
tract but to the skin. Grocers and people who handle sugar often 
suffer from skin eruptions. 

No better authority can be quoted than Dr. Banting, the dis- 
coverer of insulin, with regard to the causes of diabetes. "In the 
United States the incidence of diabetes has increased proportion- 
ately with the per capita consumption of cane-sugar. One cannot 
help but conclude that in the heating and recrystallization of the 
natural sugar-cane something is altered which leaves the refined 
product a dangerous foodstuff" (Edinb. Med. J. 36, Jan. 18, 

Dr. Banting comments on the incidence of diabetes among the 
many wealthy Spaniards in Panama, who eat large quantities of 
cane-sugar and even cook their food in sugar syrup. Diabetes 
among this class is surprisingly high. The effect of the ingestion 
of cane-sugar is even more startling in India where there is no 
diabetes among the poor but among the wealthy classes over fifty 
years of age, who indulge in sugar, about 40% are diabetics. 

That sugar is an important contributory factor in producing 


diabetes was best proven during the World War when the disease 
was not as prevalent in the United States. This can only be 
rationally interpreted as due to the lessened consumption of white 
sugar during that period of time, long enough to justify the cor- 
rectness of the statistical data. The subsidence of diabetes in 
belligerent foreign countries was even more manifest. During 
prohibition the sugar consumption in the United States increased 
over 30%, and diabetes in the same proportion. The parallel 
advance was disrupted only when insulin was discovered. Accord- 
ing to Stefansson the Eskimos had neither constipation, stomach 
or dental troubles while on an exclusive meat diet but since the 
use of devitalized sugars and starches these diseases have become 

If the Food Section of the United States Department of Agri- 
culture would not respect the "big interests" so much, but would 
faithfully and meticulously discharge its obligation toward food 
control, sanitation and the protection of health, it certainly would 
prohibit the manufacture of refined sugar and of white flour, both 
of which are low-grade, denatured, dealkalinized fuels, robbed 
of all vital elements. Laboratory experiments have also proved 
that animals live longer without food than when fed on refined 
sugar and white flour. The nutritive part and vital force of grain 
is gluten, which is in the bran, and therefore should not be re- 
moved. Of course, the millers know that degerminated products 
are less perishable. The patriarchal device of "braying" the grain 
(brayed, bread), is today only a matter of history ; the ancients 
ate the vitamins, we write and read about them. The flour from 
which some white breads are baked is not only devitalized and 
devitaminized but, to look better, it is bleached and artificially 
matured by chemicals, e.g., potassium bromide, chlorine, nitrogen 
trioxide, benzoyl peroxide, etc. 

Dr. E. V. McCollum, Professor of Chemical Hygiene, School 
of Hygiene and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, 
Baltimore, addressing the Northern Ohio Dental Association's 
seventieth anniversary convention at Cleveland, Ohio, said that 
the American people ought to be ashamed in permitting two 


atrocities to be put over on them. He referred in particular to 
white flour and refined sugar. McCollum said that he sometimes 
wondered which of the two evils is greater. 

Recently one of the milling companies advertised a "wheat 
germ product" one dollar a pound, as an addition to diets, to 
replace vitamins B, G and E and valuable mineral salts which 
are taken out from the wheat during the process of manufacturing 
white flour. First these vital elements are removed, then, realiz- 
ing the faux pas, they are sold separately. In the good old days 
only the chaff was separated from the wheat but in a scientific era 
all things must be changed. 

Sugar is just as habit-forming as narcotics. Sugar contains calo- 
ries which artificially create temporary energy but it is not a food 
because it is without nutritive value and not only does not 
benefit the tissues of the organism but harms them. The use, 
misuse and abuse of refined sugars (in the shape of candy or in 
any other form) is a modern nutritional disaster. We employ 
these sugars not with the purpose of obtaining strength but simply 
for gratification of an unhygienic and illogical craving for sweets. 
The Anglo-Saxon races head the list of sugar habitues. Napoleon 
craved and incessantly munched chocolates and it is no wonder 
that he had to get up nightly and thrust a finger into his throat to 
relieve himself of excessive gastric juice. As we know, he died 
from a perforation of the stomach. 

The writer is firmly convinced that if the youth of the country 
would eat good old-fashioned rye-bread, the kind which mother 
used to bake, and not highly praised (of course, only in advertise- 
ments) proprietary breads, and would consume natural fruit sug- 
ars, like honey, dates, figs, raisins, grapes and other sweet fruits, 
instead of cheap candy, their physical defects would not be so 
manifest, as exposed by the staggering revelations of 191 7. In 
spite of the lowered physical standards that had to be instituted 
then, less than half of the young men were found fit for military 
duty. So let us be better prepared for the next war. Sir William 
Osier's remark that any disease which Nature can not cure will 
remain uncured pertains also, by proper application, to all de- 


natured foods. It is too bad that the term "denatured" is almost 
exclusively used today only for the designation of a certain type 
of alcohol. If exploitation can triumph over Nature, it is time — 
at least — to be aware of it. 

Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, former chief chemist of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture and Director of the Bureau of Foods, Sanita- 
tion and Health, in a letter to the American Honey Institute, 
wrote thus about the "honey matter": "Unfortunately, the 
amount of honey that is now produced in the United States, or 
that may or can be produced therein, is entirely insufficient to 
supply the wants of even a small percentage of our people. If we 
stress the honey matter too prominently we may do injury, not 
to the bees nor the keepers, nor the honey merchants, but to those 
who prefer honey to other sweets. I am one of that kind. I get 
every year about sixty pounds. If we urge everybody to use honey 
instead of sugar, we will have the same condition that now exists 
with codliver oil, calf's liver and agar.* A few years ago agar 
was quite cheap. I with others have been urging people to use agar 
to avoid constipation. It now costs over $3.00 a pound. In the 
same way the craze for liver to cure anemia has greatly advanced 
the cost of that commodity. I am a great believer in honey, both 
on account of its flavor and because I think it is far more whole- 
some than refined white sugar. I use it every morning in my 
coffee, of which I drink one cup a day." 

Dr. Wiley also declared saccharin a harmful substance. When 
the ketchup manufacturers and canners wished to add saccharin to 
their products, he protested. During a hearing, the late Theodore 
Roosevelt, at that time President of the United States, was 
amazed to hear that saccharin was objectionable. "You are telling 
me, Dr. Wiley, that saccharin is injurious to health?" Roosevelt 
asked. "Yes, Mr. President, I do tell you that," answered Wiley. 
The President remarked: "Well, Dr. Rixey (at the time White 

*The California Fruit Growers' Exchange appropriated for 1937 a million 
and a half dollars for cooperative advertising of alkaline-forming citrous fruits. 
It is not surprising that the price of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit has increased 
46% over the 1935 level. 


House physician) makes me take it every day." Wiley was em- 
barrassed and explained: "Probably he thinks that you are threat- 
ened with diabetes and considered it better for you than sugar." 
The manufacture of saccharin has been forbidden in Germany and 

What effect refined sugars have on the alarmingly increasing 
prevalence of arthritis is another important question to solve. The 
fact alone that arthritics, who suffer from delayed sugar removal, 
are legatees to all the scourges of this malady, while diabetics 
who cannot digest glucose and eliminate it from their systems are 
almost entirely free from symptoms of arthritis, deserves con- 
sideration. The main complaint of diabetics is lack of energy, a 
complication with which the arthritics, who are perfectly well 
otherwise, are not concerned. This prevailing contrast between the 
two groups could be rationally attributed to some unknown con- 
ditionality superinduced by two divergent functions of the re- 
spective organisms. 

Dr. Serge Voronoff was evidently not a believer in sugar when 
he made the statement that the human race could easily extend 
its period of life to 120 years by eliminating from its diet sugar, 
white flour and salt. 

England was one of the first nations to assail the mischiefs and 
ravages of refined sugar and to raise her voice against its use by 
calling attention to its harmful effects. According to records, the 
art of refining sugar was first practiced in England in 1544. John 
Gardiner and Sir William Chester were the proprietors of the 
first two "sugar-houses" in England. The introduction of sugar 
immediately raised the question of its desirability, and a great 
part of the population feared that it might have bad effects. Sir 
Thomas Mildmay, in 1596, petitioned Queen Elizabeth for the 
exclusive right to refine sugar because he believed that frauds 
were practiced in the process of refining. 

Theophilus Garencieres, a physician (1647), was tne first to 
attack sugar in its infancy. He thought sugar created Tabes 
Anglica and also caused consumption of the lungs because the 
heating quality of sugar was "not a little" injurious to the lungs. 


Thomas Willis, the celebrated English physician, was next to 
attack it in 1674. He thought that sugar largely contributed to 
the immense increase of scurvy. He argued: "For it plainly ap- 
pears by the chemical analysis of sugar that this concrete consists 
of an acrid and corrosive salt, tempered with a portion of sul- 
phur." He referred to eminent authors who attributed the cause 
and frequency of consumption of the lungs in England to the 
immoderate use of sugar. Scurvy made great ravages in England 
in the seventeenth century, so did consumption of the lungs and 
scrofula. Angelus Sala also attributed many ailments to the abuse 
of sugarj among them, loss of appetite, blackness and loosening 
of the teeth, offensive breath, colic, lax bowels, also bilious, scor- 
butic and hysterical complaints. It was observed that sugar pro- 
duced worms in children. It seems that Garencieres and Willis 
were the founders of the wide-spread cult, known in England as 
A ntisaccharites. 

Charles Butler, in Feminin? Monarch?, 16^2, comparing honey 
with sugar, remarks: "In respect of the marvellous efHcacy which 
fine and pure honey hath in preserving health, that gross and 
earthy stuff is no whit comparable to this celestial nectar." 

It is the prodigy of knowledge not only to discriminate between 
similarities of things different but also between divergencies of 
things resembling one another (Medical trickology). 


TICKNER EDWARDES wrote thus about honey: "Honey 
is good for old and young. If mothers were wise they would 
never give their children any other sweet food. Pure ripe honey 
is sugar with the most difficult and most important part of diges- 
tion already accomplished by the bees. Moreover, it is a safe and 
very gentle laxative. And probably, before each comb-cell is 
sealed up, the bee injects a drop of acid from her sting. Anyway, 
honey has a distinct antiseptic property. That is why it is so good 
for sore throats or chafed skins. If only doctors could be induced 
to seek curative power in ancient homely things, as they do with 
the latest poisons from Germany! That applies also to the treat- 
ment of obesity. Fat people, who are ordered to give up sugar, 
ought to use honey instead. In my time I have persuaded many 
a one to try it, and the result has always been the same — a steady 
reduction in weight and better health all around. Then again, 
dyspeptic folks would find most of their troubles vanish if they 
substituted the already half-digested honey wherever ordinary 
sugar forms part of their diet. And did you ever try honey to 
sweeten tea or coffee? Of course, it must be pure, and without any 
strongly-marked flavour ; but no one would ever return to sugar 
if once good honey had been tried in this way, or in any kind of 
cookery where sugar is used. In extracting honey it gets into most 
places, the hair not excepted. At any rate, honey as a hair-restorer 
was one of the most famous nostrums of the Middle Ages, and 
may return to popular favour even now . . ." 

Good honey is an ideal food, nutritious and easily digested. 
Professor Klemperer of Berlin claimed that a tablespoonful of 



honey is equivalent in nutritive value to the largest-sized hen egg. 
According to Professor von Bunge, 98% of the lime, iron, salt 
and grape sugar, of which honey contains 77%, are directly ab- 
sorbed by the blood. Honey is six times richer in fuel value than 
milk and, in addition, it contains more inorganic substances. The 
flavor of honey has also a dietetic value as it induces the free flow 
of saliva which in itself promotes digestion. It is not surprising 
that the Germans called honey Urnahrung (aboriginal food). 
There is also a breath of romance in each drop of honey. 

The nutritive value of honey was well proven by a recent ex- 
periment (March 1935) of Dr. Mykola H. Haydak, of the 
Agricultural Department of the University of Minnesota, who 
for a four-month period lived exclusively on honey and milk. 
Dr. Haydak wished to prove that solids are not necessary to sus- 
tain life and that this combination was a perfect diet. During the 
third month he developed scurvy which, however, was easily 
cured by adding a small quantity of orange juice. He was pro- 
nounced, by the examining physicians of the University, to be in 
perfect health. At the beginning of the diet Haydak lost several 
pounds but he soon regained the deficiency and his weight re- 
mained constant thereafter. 

Honey is best suited for the young and the old. Before puberty 
and during the years of decline the ductless glands, especially the 
thyroid gland, do not function adequately and meat is not indi- 
cated. The toxic products formed in the organism by the decom- 
position of meat cannot be destroyed. People when their endo- 
crines are undeveloped or in a state of retrogression will not 
tolerate meat but crave sweets. Pronounced meat eaters and con- 
sumers of alcohol have little desire for sweets ; on the other hand, 
children, the aged, the weak and invalid, especially women, crave 

The Biblical designation, "a land flowing with milk and honey," 
should be suggestive enough to combine honey with dairy prod- 
ucts. Honey cream, honey butter, honey cream cheese are whole- 
some combinations. To please the palate they could be flavored 
with chocolate, vanilla or malt. 


Honey is widely used today as a food among primitive races. 
They mix it with milk, curds, cheese and especially with cereals 
and bread. The Anyanja tribe (Central Africa) make from maize 
flour, bananas and honey the so-called mkate y which is practically 
their sole food. 

Honey is also used extensively, internally and externally in 
veterinary practice. A lean horse fed on honey and bran will rap- 
idly put on flesh. Homer relates in the lliacl that Diomedes fed 
his horses honeyed barley. 

Luther C. Headley, of Madison, New Jersey, has experimented 
for years on feeding cows an admixture of honey, and has found 
that their milk and by-products are more nourishing. Leghorn 
pullets, fed on mash to which some of this milk had been added, 
lay gigantic eggs which almost burst out of the ordinary box and 
ran in weight more than thirty-three ounces to a dozen as com- 
pared with eggs weighing twenty-four ounces to a dozen laid by 
pullets of the identical strain not fed the same mixture. Honey 
has a marked effect on the muscles and bones of growing cattle. 
Members of the State Agricultural Association of New Jersey, 
who visited the Headley farm, expressed amazement at the size 
of a six-month old calf fed since birth on honey. 

The owner of a large turkey farm in Connecticut, which is 
famous for the size and tenderness of its turkeys, feeds the birds 
on mash mixed with honey. 


"Sleep with the mouth at a honey bottle." 

Bedouin proverb 

In infant feeding, after milk, honey ought to be considered 
first in importance. The Papyrus Ebers (The Leipzig Mss.), 1600 
b.c, mentions that infants were fed on honey. Galen considered 
nothing better for teething infants than honey and butter 5 the 
combination was supposed to help ulcers of the mouth. Galen's 
direction was "to rub the gums with honey, for it conduceth wonder- 


fully to the growth, the conservation and the whiteness of teeth." 
Among many modern authors, Dr. Paul Luttinger, Pediatrist 
of the Bronx Hospital, New York City, recorded 419 feeding 
cases of infants where honey was used with success and where the 
use of sugar would have been prejudicial. Luttinger found so 
many decided advantages in honey for infant feeding that he dis- 
carded other sugars. He used one to two teaspoonfuls in eight 
ounces of feeding mixture, substituting honey for orange juice 
and cod liver oil. Honey is certainly more palatable than cod liver 
oil and is just as good, if not better; it is tasty, nourishing, and 
is easily and quickly digested because there is no resistance and 
delay in its absorption. Infants fed on honey rarely show flatu- 
lence. The facility of absorption prevents fermentation. A tea- 
spoonful of honey to eight ounces of barley-water is an excellent 
remedy for summer diarrhea. In marasmus, rickets, scurvy, in 
fact, in every case of malnutrition, honey is a sine qua non because 
it contains not only proteins but mineral salts and vitamins which 
are missing in sugar. The mineral content of honey is higher than 
that of human or cow's milk which contain only exceedingly small 
quantities. Honey has a great antituberculotic reputation in infant 
feeding among European peasants. The sedative, hypnotic and 
diuretic effects of honey are well-known. 

Dr. M. W. O'Gorman, Chief of the Division of Hygiene, 
Department of Public Affairs of Jersey City, New Jersey, used 
honey for 25 years as a valuable addition to milk modification for 
infant feeding and in the growing child's dietary. The fact that 
many of the infants admitted to his institution had been suffer- 
ing from malnutrition, some even with little chance to survive, 
makes his statement more impressive. His charges received at first 
one-half teaspoonful of honey every 24 hours and the amount 
was gradually increased to two teaspoonfuls, according to size and 
bowel movements. In case of constipation the amount of honey 
was increased. Honey has a decided laxative effect on infants. 
This effect, however, is lost if the honey is boiled. 

There are innumerable other reports praising the value of 
honey in modified feeding of infants. Dr. H. W. Wiley in the 


May 1926 issue of Good Housekeeping also recommends honey 
as a sweetener in infant feeding. Condensed milk and other pro- 
prietary milk products contain a large amount of cane-sugar be- 
cause it is sweeter than the appropriate milk sugar. It is a proven 
fact that infants brought up on condensed milk are less resistant 
to infections than those fed on mother's or cow's milk. Dr. R. G. 
Flood thinks that honey is a very valuable sugar in the treatment 
of constipated bottle-fed infants due to the laxative effect of the 
levulose faction which is slowly absorbed and eventually^reaches 
the large intestines. Constipated infants benefited in his hands a 
great deal through the use of honey as a substitute. 

Titian's painting, representing infant Jesus holding a bee in 
His hand, may well symbolize the value of honey for infants. 


The old Gaelic honey was reputed to have served better for 
children than any other tonic. The Scotch believed that honey- 
suckle, a favorite of the bees, contained some kind of a "life- 
substance." The nomad Arabs, the Bedouins, feed their youths 
even today on buttermilk and honey. Important antituberculotic 
and antiscrofulotic effects were attributed to honey by the peasants 
of many countries, also in children's dietary. Honey and cream or 
butter for adolescents was considered a safe -guard against tubercu- 
losis. A glass of barley water with a tablespoonful of honey is a 
popular health-drink for juveniles on account of its mild laxative 
effect. On the European continent and in all Slavic countries 
honey is still the preferential sweet for children. The peoples of 
the Orient are experts in preparing honey-confectionery, called 

Many clinical experiments have been conducted in institutions, 
not unlike in infant feeding, to test the nutritive and tonic effects 
of honey on children. The Frauenfelder Home, in the Canton of 
St. Gallen, Switzerland, is famous for its honey and milk cures. 
Weak and sickly children are brought there from all parts of the 
world to recuperate and gain health. If any medical man wishes 


to be convinced of the nutritive value of honey, he should visit 
this institution. Dr. P. E. Weesen, of the Frauenfelder sani- 
tarium, experimented in feeding patients in three groups: the first 
group received normal food; the second group, normal food with 
honey j and the third group, normal food with tonics and medica- 
ments. The group fed with honey far excelled the other two 
groups, both in looks and in strength. Facta loquntur! 

Dr. Paula Emrich also conducted parallel feeding observations 
with ioo children. At the start the group which was assigned to 
be given honey, received a teaspoonful of honey in a cup of warm 
milk. The honey was gradually increased to as much as two 
tablespoonfuls daily. Those who manifested digestive disturb- 
ances were exempted. To be objective and also to avoid errors the 
selected groups of children were, as much as possible, of similar 
types as regard to age, size, constitution, living conditions of their 
families, hemoglobin content of blood, etc. The children of the 
separated groups were often sisters and brothers, some of them 
were even twins. The comparative results and the statistics proved 
that the children who received honey, but were otherwise on the 
same diet, after six weeks gained less in weight but more in the 
hemoglobin content of their blood (12%). 

That the mineral elements, such as copper, iron and manga- 
nese, which honey contains, have important blood-building func- 
tions has been proven by Dr. Rolleder's experiments (on 58 
children) in an Austrian orphanage. During the school year he 
gave half the number of boys one tablespoonful of honey in the 
morning and the same amount in the afternoon; the other half 
were not given any. The result was that the children who received 
honey showed an increase in hemoglobin (83/2%); the others 
showed a corresponding loss. It has been demonstrated by experi- 
ments that animals will form decidedly less hemoglobin in their 
blood when fed on sugar than during a similar period of fasting. 

Beyond any doubt, a great error in the present feeding methods 
for children is to permit them to consume sugar-candy instead 
of natural sweets. Dr. Seale Harris {New Orleans Med. & Surg. 
Joum. 81, Sept. 1928) remarks: "The sugar-fed child often be- 


comes rachitic, is prone to acquire colitis and other infections. If 
he survives infancy he becomes the pale, weak, undernourished 
child, or the fat flabby indolent and self-indulgent adolescent. 
Sugar-saturated and vitamin-starving America presents a prob- 
lem. . . . An ounce of prevention in an infant is worth more than 
the proverbial pound of cure in an adult. Sugar-fed children will 
not enjoy milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables to provide them with 
protein, fats, minerals and vitamins, which are needed for their 

Dr. Harris thinks that the sugar-saturated American children 
are confirmed sugar habitues. They cover their breakfast cereals 
with sugar, spread sugar-syrup over their pancakes, cheap jams 
over the muffins and often even sweeten their milk. They are 
served sweet desserts (the sweeter the better) for lunch and din- 
ner. Between meals they devour candy and ice cream, and indulge 
in all kinds of sweet "soft" drinks. Candies contain 40 to 60% 
of some sort of processed sugars. As a result, these children suffer 
from flatulence, hyperacidity and headaches and become irritable, 
restless, capricious and undernourished. They are physically un- 
derweight or overweight and mentally precocious or retarded 5 are 
easily fatigued and unmanageable, suffer from one cold after 
another. Physicians, instead of conducting the fashionable search 
for some non-existent endocrine deficiency, should rather be 
guided by the fruity breath of acetone of these children, which in 
itself usually reveals the difficult (?) diagnosis. The French 
Dr. Le Goff contends that about 80,000 children die in France 
from the direct effect of industrial sugar. Dr. Le Goff would not 
permit in his practice the minutest quantity of sugar in the food 
and drink of infants and children. The results are astounding 
because almost all the new-born grow up to robust childhood. 
Many pediatrists recognize the existence of a so-called "sugar- 

Dr. W. E. Deeks also has found that sugar-eating children are 
badly nourished, pasty-looking, irritable, restless, particularly at 
night, and frequently suffer from incontinence of urine during 
sleep j they have decayed teeth, are constipated at times, alternat- 


ing with diarrhea} they are subject to rheumatism, chorea, recur- 
ring bronchitis and sore throat. In early infancy they are prone 
to gastro-intestinal disturbances and eczema. Sugar eaters have, as 
a rule, a very red and irritated tongue, rapidly recurring hunger 
with a ravenous appetite which is, however, easily and quickly 
satisfied} a tendency to heartburn and ineffectual belching. 

Digestive disturbances in children predominate in the wealthier 
classes. When these children grow up they become accustomed to 
sweets and as adults will persevere in their slow suicidal efforts. 
The sweet-toothed child becomes a toothless adult. Most oral 
infections, bleeding gums, decayed teeth and pyorrhea are pro- 
duced by carbohydrate fermentation, or by some additional harm- 
ful substances which candies contain. Sugar fermentation, through 
the formation of lactic acid and the consequent decalcification, is 
the main cause of tooth decay. The resisting power of teeth to 
withstand decalcifying agents varies considerably. 

Refined sugars possess a decided affinity for lime and they 
deprive the teeth and bones of this important mineral substance ; 
in consequence the teeth decay and the bones become weak. Can- 
dies lack minerals, which fact is a drawback because adolescent 
children require a great amount of minerals for their teeth. An 
excessive consumption of candy produces anemia which, in itself, 
is a contributory cause of dental caries. While refined sugars, of 
which candy is made, do not contain even a trace of calcium or 
iron, the ash of 100 gm. of honey contains 6.7% of calcium and 
1.2% of iron (Von Bunge). Efforts to replace organic minerals 
with inorganic ones have always proved a failure. Natural or 
simple sugars like that found in honey, dates, figs, raisins and 
other fruits will not cause oral defects. This is proven by the teeth 
of Arabs, Turks and the African negroes. Half an apple, half a 
banana, one orange, one fig, or two dates contain the equivalent 
of two level teaspoonfuls of sugar. But civilized man grows his 
sweet tooth first and only later his . . . wisdom tooth. 

The truth of the many accusations that sweet drinks and foods, 
especially candies, are the main source of tooth-decay was conclu- 
sively established by the recent Dental Research Expedition of 


Columbia University which was sent to the remote areas of the 
Bering Sea. Dr. L. M. Waugh, leader of the party, states that 
the Eskimos have perfect teeth so long as they abstain from 
"civilized" diet. "We found natives," Dr. Waugh reports, "with 
practically perfect teeth, lacking in decay, so long as they lived in 
their natural state untouched by the white man and ate their 
native diet which lacks sugar in its refined form. When the natives 
are subjected to the white man's diet their teeth decay." Dr. 
Waugh recommends that natural sugar be substituted for refined 
sugar and for sweets which contain it. 

Food excesses, as a rule, imply fares of which we are fond. 
Sugar products are pleasing and palatable besides being abundant 
and cheap. The temptations are great and it requires a certain 
amount of self-control to resist the craving. We cannot expect, 
however, such virtue in children; only proper education will en- 
lighten them. Children have to be taught to resort to natural 
sugars and not to indulge in devitalized, vitamin-free substances. 
Universal ailments of children such as dyspepsia, eructation, ap- 
pendicitis, gall bladder, liver and pancreatic infections, furuncu- 
losis, eczema, general debility and many other physical and mental 
complaints, due mainly to excessive use of sugar, could be elimi- 
nated. It is a great public health and educational problem. To 
supply the proper food for children should be our foremost duty. 
It is like laying a corner-stone for a better generation. Those who 
have reached or passed middle-age today have already made so 
many errors in diet, and their inveterate habits are so firmly estab- 
lished, that they are almost hopeless. To spare pregnant and nurs- 
ing mothers from an unbalanced and deficient diet should be our 
next aim. We pay attention to the feeding of thoroughbreds; so 
why not to that of our own race? 

Craving for sweets is a source also of other transgressions be- 
cause often harmful substances are added to sweet foods and 
beverages. In an Alabama school, for instance, it was established 
that 60% of the children indulged in cola drinks which contain, 
besides sugar, harmful caffein substances. 

American children are the greatest candy-eaters in the world. 


All one has to do is to observe the traffic around the candy coun- 
ters in schools or in the neighborhood candy stores. One seldom 
sees children without the inevitable lollypops or their near or far 
relatives. Candies decrease the appetites of children and irritate 
the delicate linings of their stomachs, this irritation in itself inter- 
fering with the absorption of food. Parents should know that 
starches, such as bread and cereals, manufacture sugar in the 
organism. Fruits and certain vegetables, of course, contain a con- 
siderable amount of natural sugars. Candies will establish an ex- 
cess in sugar consumption with all its dire consequences. The irony 
of the situation is that in many schools we find the candy counter 
in one wing of the building and the dental clinic in another. 

Statistics based on examination of a large proportion of over 
twenty million school children in America show that 15 to 25 per 
cent have diseased tonsils or adenoids j 50 to 75 per cent have de- 
fective teeth; and 15 to 25 per cent suffer from malnutrition 
(Leete, Mother and Child, 2, 358, 1921). Terman {The Hygiene 
of the School Child, 19 14) also found that fourteen million school 
children in the United States were handicapped by some kind of 
physical defect. Medical examinations during drafting of our 
young men for the World War revealed similar results. 

Teeth have a great importance in their relationship to other 
organs of the body. The value of good teeth as a dependable indi- 
cator of health was known during the days of slave-trading when 
two dollars were deducted from the agreed price of a slave for 
each decayed tooth (Finke, Medical Geography, I. p. 449). 
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes once remarked that longevity de- 
pends not so much on the importance that children should be 
born to long-lived parents but to parents with good teeth. The 
Biblical edict that the sins of the fathers shall be visited on their 
children also refers to teeth. 

The "sugar capacity" of children greatly varies. Dr. Ch. G. 
Kerley, the noted pediatrist, observed in many children serious 
maladies which could be traced to the indiscriminate use of candy. 
Among the diseases he found persistent head-colds, otitis, enlarged 


tonsils, recurrent bronchitis, bronchial asthma, vomiting, rheu- 
matism, chorea, eczema and urticaria. Kerley found in 78 cases: 

Recurrent vomiting 8 

Eczema 13 

Asthmatic bronchitis 7 

Asthma 4 

Frequent colds, coryza, tonsilitis 17 

Chorea 11 

Rheumatism 4 

Rheumatism and endocarditis 6 

Urticaria 1 

Recurrent bronchitis 6 

Several cases were conjoined with one or more of the other 
ailments. Of the group, for instance, there were combinations of: 

Eczema, urticaria and rheumatism ; 

Eczema, urticaria and bronchial asthma ; 

Eczema and chorea ; 

Eczema and bronchitis j 

Rheumatism and asthmatic bronchitis. 

Most of Dr. Kerley's patients improved without medication by 
simply depriving them of candy. Some of the "sugar susceptibles" 
were so sensitive to "candy poisoning" that a small piece of candy 
was sufficient to produce an outbreak. "It would seem," remarks 
Kerley, "that to some individuals cane-sugar is sufficiently toxic 
to produce a perversion of functions with symptoms of its own . . . 
and in others to produce enough change to invite or allow bacterial 
invasion, as in acute articular rheumatism and endocarditis." 

Candy and sweet cakes will produce in children malaise, drowsi- 
ness, languor, epigastric heaviness and bilious, green-colored vom- 
iting. Dr. E. H. Bartley reported the case of a girl who vomited 
two hours after every meal for a year. After inquiry the doctor 


found that the child had been living almost entirely on cake 
because her appetite ( ? ) did not crave anything else. The vomit- 
ing promptly ceased by withholding the cake. Three weeks later, 
after eating cake, the child suffered a relapse. 

Dr. Bartley reported autopsies on two children who died from 
excessive indulgence in candy. The result of the autopsies showed 
an acute and intense inflammation of the gastric mucosa ; the 
candy was not even entirely dissolved and was mixed with the 
abundant mucus of the stomachs. Some of the gastric contents 
were ejected by vomiting that preceded death. The coroner's 
findings were acute inflammation of the stomach and duodenum, 
caused by excessive eating of candy. Chemical analysis failed to 
reveal any foreign toxic substances. Candy alone in large quanti- 
ties is a sufficient irritant. An excessive amount of cane-sugar 
inhibits the secretion of hydrochloric acid. 

Dr. R. Blosser, of Atlanta, Ga., reported the case of a child 
8 years old who suffered an attack which was termed delirium 
tremens, attributed to excessive use of brown sugar. The father, a 
grocer, allowed him free access to the sugar-barrel, from which 
the boy indulged between meals. The violent attack lasted for 
four days and the child had to be "held in bed." After the boy 
had been forbidden to eat any more sugar, the delirium did not 
recur. Another proof that sugar contains deleterious substances. 

The gastric catarrh of children caused by indulgence in candy 
has, undoubtedly, a remote effect on the nose, throat and lungs, 
diffusing the catarrhal condition. In young girls menstrual dis- 
turbances and leucorrhea may also supervene. The most harmful 
effect of candy-orgies is that the victims lose their appetite and as 
a result exclude highly essential nutriments. 

Our schools should show concern and teach more dietetics in- 
stead of so much theoretical science. It is difficult to depend on 
parents, considering how most of them . . . feed. With the aid of 
a little more solicitude on the part of teachers, children could 
carry the knowledge of proper diet to their homes and educate 
their parents. 

The harm caused by the excess consumption of candy is not 


due solely to its sugar content. Cheap candies, to preserve and 
lend color and flavor, are admixed with sulphates (the hat clean- 
ers also use them), lead, arsenic, benzoate of soda, anilin and other 
coal-tar dyes which are decidedly toxic. We Americans are past- 
masters in preserving and adulterating food materials. Years ago 
several foreign countries forbade the importation of California 
dried fruits because they had been sulphured. The imputation 
that we are a nation of 100,000,000 guinea pigs (why disregard 
the other 30 million worthy fellow-citizens? ) must have had some 
justification and the epithet adduced by substantial evidence. 

There is a little story about a Christmas party which a chari- 
table lady gave to the working girls of a provincial town. Among 
the divertisements of the evening, each girl received as a gift a 
box of chocolates. When the jollity ended and the crowd dis- 
persed, a group of girls who were ready to depart did not take 
the boxes of candy. The hostess reminded them of their apparent 
oversight but the girls answered in unison: "No, thank you, we 
know this candy ; we make it." 


For physical and mental fatigue and over-work there is no 
more excellent stimulant in the medical armamentarium than 
honey. A glassful of hot water with several tablespoonfuls of 
honey is a quickly acting energy-builder, far superior to alcohol 
because it is without depressive action, or better, reaction. Strenu- 
ous exercise consumes lots of sugar from the blood-stream which 
must be replaced. The popular German honey-tea, which is plain 
hot water with honey, is considered by the Germans a pleasing, 
wholesome and strengthening beverage. 

The Greek athletes ate honey before they entered the arena for 
the Olympic games. Homer described in the Iliad (IX. 631) how 
the tired heroes recuperated in Nestor's tent by consuming honey. 
The Roman soldiers, on festive occasions or upon returning from 
war and celebrating the glory of victory, drank honey and wine 
(mulsum) to prolong their life. According to the Old Testament 


(2 Sam. 17: 29), honey and sour milk was the food for the tired 
warriors. When Christ was resurrected and asked for food, He 
was given honey. This seems to be a testimonial to its refreshing 
and resuscitating power. (Obtulerunt ei partem piscis assi et 
javum mellis. Luke 24: 42.) 

The Masai warriors, according to Seyffert-Dresden, received 
for many days no other food but honey. In the old German army, 
each soldier carried a tube of it in his knapsack. The Alpine climb- 
ers never omit the eating of honey, the principal course of a 
Swiss breakfast. To long distance swimmers, at frequent intervals 
sponges saturated with honey are thrown to restore their strength. 
Ethel Hertel, who won the world's championship for women 
swimmers in the Third Wrigley Marathon Race, held at Toronto, 
ate honey before and during the race. She consulted a number of 
athletes (runners, wrestlers, boxers and oarsmen) and discovered 
that they all fared on honey before their contests. Hockey players 
and basket-ball teams are served honey three to four times weekly 
during their training period. The consumption of liberal doses of 
honey creates heat, wards off fatigue and aids recuperative power. 
The ice-cold waters of the English Channel and of Lake Ontario 
consume a great amount of body heat which must be replaced. No 
Channel swimmers have ever succeeded in finishing the course 
except those who possessed abundant adipose tissues, in addition 
to the heavy greasy coating with which they are always anointed. 
Helene Madison, the sensational seventeen-year-old girl swim- 
mer who, in 1930, broke twelve world and twenty-six American 
records in eight months, used honey as her major sweet on the 
advice of her trainer (Gleanings in Bee Culture, 193 1). 

During exercise, lactic and carbonic acids are formed in the 
tissues which must be oxidized. Lactic acid is one of the principal 
causes of exhaustion. The acids are neutralized by the alkalies of 
the blood. Low alkali reserve means fatigue. Alkaline foods are 
important. Beans are one of the richest alkaline foods and soy- 
bean flour tops them all. The soy-bean is a perfect food and a 
harmless stimulant. 

Recently Professor Dennig of the Robert Koch Hospital in 


Berlin suggested the use of bicarbonate of soda for the Reich Army 
to increase the efficiency of the soldiers. Experiments and control 
tests proved that through administration of bicarbonate of soda, 
the effect of which lasts for several days, runners were able to 
dash at full tilt for 42 minutes instead of 20, as formerly, and a 
bicycle racer was able to maintain a sprint for 1 6 minutes, instead 
of 11. The administration of bicarbonate of soda followed by the 
consumption of honey ought to be a helpful combination for 
athletes. During athletic training less acid forms in the muscles 
and the alkali reserve is increased. 

The blood-sugar content of many participants in marathon races 
has been carefully studied by biochemists. Prolonged exercise will 
lead to depletion of liver glycogen and cause marked depression 
of blood-sugar levels. Runners who became exhausted and gave 
up previous races showed a definite sugar deficiency in their blood. 
After having been fed with honey before and during subsequent 
races they completed the course. These tests are further proof that 
honey produces considerable endurance. 

W. L. Finlay, Director of Athletics of the Young Men's Chris- 
tian Association of Toronto in a letter (Nov. 12, 1926) remarks: 
"For almost three years the members of Central Y. M. C. A. 
Walkers' Club, the premier club of its kind in Canada, have been 
using honey as a staple article of diet. Following extensive medical 
research work on diet and athletes' endurance, in which was in- 
volved estimations of blood sugar before and after competitive 
walks, these members aforementioned were advised to incorporate 
in their bill of fare a large quantity of natural sugars, and the 
article deemed most suitable by medical opinion was honey. This 
type of athletic activity in which these men are engaged demands 
great stamina and endurance, and the food problem with us is one 
that demands close attention. 

"Honey has the following advantages over other sugars: 

1. It is non-irritating to the delicate membranes of the digestive 

2. It is assimilated rapidly and easily. 


3. It quickly furnishes the demand for energy. 

4. It enables the athlete to recuperate rapidly from severe exer- 
tion, and the men using it show less evidence of fatigue, ac- 
cording to standardized medical tests. 

5. As far as our research work has demonstrated, the use of honey 
spares the kidneys, lessening tissue destruction. 

6. It has a natural and gentle laxative effect. 

7. It is easily obtained and it is inexpensive. 

"The group of athletes already mentioned have been very suc- 
cessful in the past and are now in the throes of intensive training 
for the largest walking race in the world." 

H. W. Haggard, Professor of Physiology at Yale University, 
considers honey one of the most assimilable carbohydrates. He 
also emphasizes that "the taking of readily assimilable carbohy- 
drates is stimulating and helps to relieve fatigue." 

There is no other more severe, nay, crucial test to appreciate 
the physical and chemical fitness of the human' system than the 
enormous strain to which it is exposed during deep-sea diving, 
especially at great depths and during long submersions. In such 
an artificial atmosphere the metabolic machine must function to 
perfection, because the minutest deficiency will frustrate the truly 
superhuman efforts. The faculty of honey to attend to the vital 
oxidative requirements of deep-sea divers is remarkable. Captain 
John D. Craig, 33 years old, who, on the salvage ship Ophir, is 
now ready to penetrate the hull of the sunken Lusitania buried 
on the bottom of the Atlantic, describes in The American Maga- 
zine (April, 1937) the physical fitness which is exacted for the 
task: "All of us are in the pink of condition. We have trained 
for months, working off every ounce of fat. Those of us who do 
the diving, like myself, have given up tobacco, alcohol and mixed 
foods. That is most important. For weeks we shall have nothing 
for breakfast but a glass of orange juice and a found and one-half 
of honey in the comb which we chew thoroughly, spitting out the 
wax. The honey provides a carbon background for the oxygen to 
burn upon and prevents its burning our tissues. When we come 


up from the seas we are given nothing to eat except a half-tumbler 
of strained honey, lemon juice and rain water. We carry crocks of 
rain water in the ship's refrigerators because it is not only pure 
but contains a high degree of oxygen. When we emerge from the 
water our body temperatures have fallen from 98 degrees, nor- 
mal, to 85, although we do not feel cold. The rain-water-honey 
mixture warms us up, and then, after a massage, we go to bed. 
After a brief rest we eat, but we must stick to one thing at a meal 
— proteins or carbohydrates, not both. We immediately feel it if 
we take the combination and we suffer nausea or weakness. Our 
physical discipline is most severe." 


"Father Time, though he tarries for none, often lays his hands 
lightly on those who have used him well." 

Charles Dickens 

To prolong life has been at all times the chief desire and prin- 
cipal object of mankind. Man always has done his utmost to reach 
old age. The expediency and value of this tendency is, however, 
somewhat disputed. Philosophers, economists and students of 
eugenics are not in accord about its practicability. There is even an 
old charge against medicine and hygiene that by preserving life 
they often tend to weaken the human race. Unhealthy people give 
birth to weak offspring. Haeckel called it "medical selection," 
and thought that humanity degenerates because of the influence of 
medical science. Others oppose longevity from the psychological 
standpoint. Edmund Goldsmid (Introduction to Cohausen's Her- 
mippus Redivivus) thought that it is not the length of the day 
which makes us love the summer but its brightness, the beauty of 
flowers and the singing of birds. "Ask the man whose sun of 
ambition has passed its zenith, who has gathered the flowers of 
love and friendship and found that they sometimes wither and die 
while he yet held them in his grasp, for whom voices he loved 
best have ceased to resound; ask such a man whether life is a 


blessing as the ignorants imagine it . . . and you will receive for 
reply the words so old and yet so true: Vanitas, omnia vanitas." 

Yet innumerable attempts have been made — before and after 
Ponce de Leon — to discover the secret of eternal youth and the 
deferment of old age. The Elixir Vitae was a problem of all 
times and still is today. If we scan ancient records we find an 
infinite list of tricks, schemes, suggestions, dietetic regimens and 
substances from the mineral, plant and animal worlds employed 
to preserve and regain youth or to stave off old age. Long life has 
been considered, in all ages, a blessing from Heaven. To cling to 
life is an inherent longing not only of man but of all living crea- 

Life, a physico-chemical phenomenon, has certain laws which 
must be understood. Accordingly, man, the last object of creation 
and likewise the most perfect, should be competent to comprehend 
and respect the rules which were enacted to make the "living 
engine" more durable and to extend the limit of its usefulness, 
respectively, its existence. If the organs do not function normally 
life is more a curse than a gratification. To understand the normal 
functioning of the body requires knowledge and experience. To 
enforce the laws of health is man's responsibility to Nature, be- 
cause he is supposed to be the acknowledged (by himself, at least) 
masterpiece of creation. 

It is disappointing that this is not the case. Animals far excel 
man in obedience to moral and hygienic laws. So-called civiliza- 
tion has made us forget the experience which primitive man and 
our ancient or even medieval ancestors acquired. Our present-day 
civilization, often enough, prefers material possessions to the en- 
joyment of health and life and when man loses his gains, the sole 
object of his existence, in despair he destroys life, an act which 
other creatures never do. 

The art of prolonging life, of course, does not entirely depend 
on our will and intelligence. Part of our existence, as a matter of 
fact an essential portion of it, is beyond our control. For our con- 
genital traits, for our conduct during infancy and childhood, and 
for our early environment we are not responsible} they are mere 


accidents which we may call luck or misfortune. Our intelligence 
regarding the physical and moral comportment of life, which we 
subsequently acquire through education or by our own efforts, can 
guide us only afterwards. 

Spiritual and moral principles in the management of life, in its 
enjoyment and extension to the farthest possible limits, are just as 
essential as physiological laws. To discuss the value, benefits and 
the necessity of the first two mentioned requirements is much 
beyond the scope of our purpose. With regard to the rules which 
we must know and obey to secure physical and mental health, to 
preserve life and delay its termination, they are only the Laws of 
Nature. Science, in spite of all its wonderful achievements, is not 
as dependable, due to our limited faculties. It is difficult to intrude 
into the sancta sanctorum of Nature. Haller exclaimed: 

"No mortal being, howe'er keen his eye, 
Can into Nature's deepest secrets pry." 

What was considered a verity yesterday, is a fallacy today. Our 
present-day science will suffer even more reversals than that of 
the days of old; it has grown too materialistic, and our near and 
far scientists are frequently nothing more than the employed but 
well-disguised agents of certain interests. Nature, on the other 
hand, is always absolute, constant, sincere, trustworthy and de- 
pendable. Obey the laws of Nature, because if you violate them 
you betray yourself and pare down your life. The further you 
deviate from them, the shorter will be your existence. 

One of the cardinal laws of Nature is economy. Applying this 
law to the nourishment of our body, which is one of the principal 
and vital functions for maintenance of life, we must study the 
proper requirements of the complex physico-chemical engine and 
practice economy according to Nature. Enough or sufficient de- 
notes a supply equal to the demand, not too little, not too much. 
To choke the engine is just as disastrous as no fuel at all. Primi- 
tive man observed this rule of Nature, consumed simple food and 
lived longer, but civilized man plunged into luxury and corrup- 


tion and confused the appetite of the palate with that of the 
stomach j the result is shorter life with innumerable "engine 
troubles" which finally lead to destruction. These are complica- 
tions unknown to the "children" of Nature. Meticulous care of 
the stomach by selecting proper fuel, both with regard to quality 
and quantity, is one of the most important considerations for pre- 
serving health; without it the attainment to a great age is 

There are many instances in history which confirm the belief 
that a liberal consumption of honey is conducive to prolongation 
of life. Anacreon, who died at the age of 115, attributed his long 
life to the daily use of honey. Pythagoras, who lived exclusively 
on honey and bread, was convinced that it was due to this routine 
that he reached the age of ninety, otherwise he would surely have 
died forty years earlier. His followers, the Pythagoreans, lived 
on the same diet. "Bread and honey was the Pythagorean's meat." 
Apollonius, a disciple of Pythagoras, lived to the age of 130 (died 
in 95 a.d.). Bread and honey is mentioned in the Septuagint, the 
Greek version of the Old Testament: "I have eaten my bread 
with honey." Occasionally this combination serves also as a regal 
food. In the nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence, from 
Mother Goose: 

"The King was in the counting house, counting out his money, 
The Queen was in the pantry, eating bread and honey." 

Pliny mentioned (Book II, Ch. 14) that the Pythagoreans 
believed that the absence of blindness and of eye troubles in gen- 
eral was attributable to the daily consumption of honey. Antichus, 
the physician, and Telephus, the grammarian, lived on Attic 
honey and bread, to which their old age was ascribed. Epaminon- 
das, the statesman and general, is said to have rarely eaten any- 
thing else but bread and honey. Hippocrates prescribed honey to 
those who "wished" to live long; he himself reached the age of 
109 years. When one of Augustus Caesar's guests, Pollio Ru- 
milius, 100 years old, was asked by the Emperor how he preserved 


the natural vigor of his body and mind, he answered: Intus mulso, 
foris oleo (Honey within, and oil without). This old gentleman 
was very fond of dipping his bread into honied wine. Pliny, and 
also Lycus, often refer to the long lives of the Cyrneans (inhabit- 
ants of Sardinia) who "continually" ate honey, of which there 
was an abundance on the island. 

Democritus was convinced that even the odor and emanation 
of honey helped to prolong life. Athenaeus described (II, 177) 
how Democritus (470 b.c.) in his old age, when he wished to 
hasten his approaching end, decided to abstain from all food and 
to starve himself to death. The female members of his family, 
who were eager to celebrate the impending rituals of Thesmo- 
phoria, a three-day autumn feast attended only by women, im- 
plored him to survive the festivals at least. To this he agreed 5 and 
— though he did not eat — he ordered a jar of warm honey and by 
inhaling its aroma kept himself alive during the holidays, soon 
after which he died at the age of 109. This was the same Democ- 
ritus, commonly called the "laughing philosopher," who laughed 
at the follies of men even in his dreams, and who, not to be dis- 
turbed in his deep philosophical reflections, blinded himself be- 
cause he was not able to look at a woman without a craving to 
possess her. They say that Diophanes, when he was 1 10 years old, 
also tried to prolong his life by inhaling the balmy odor of honey. 

It was a wide-spread belief among the ancients that inhalations, 
not only of honey, but of all sweet emanations, benefit life and 
retard old age. This principle was extolled by Galen and later by 
Roger Bacon, Hufeland and others. Healthy, vigorous young 
people — also animals — were supposed to comfort and revive old 
men by emanating health-giving vapors. This influence had also a 
distinctly opposite effect, namely that the contact debilitated 
youth. The faith prevailed for thousands of years and still exists 
today. Borelli and others quoted names of dying persons who 
recovered by prolonged blowing of the breath of healthy friends 
into their mouths. Cornaro attributed his old age to youthful 
environment. When he became old and was at the point of death, 
he gathered eleven of his grandchildren round him to renew his 


vital forces. To quote him: "I often sing myself with them, for 
my voice is now clearer and stronger than it ever was in my 
youth j and I am a stranger to those peevish and morose humors 
which fall so often to the lot of old age." Marriages between 
persons of widely differing ages seem to confirm the theory. 
Huf eland comments thus upon the subject: "We cannot refuse 
our approval of the method if it be remembered how the exhala- 
tions from newly opened animals stimulate paralyzed limbs, and 
how the application of living animals also soothes a violent pain." 
This probably led to the first blood transfusion which was per- 
formed on animals. In the seventeenth century (1666) it was 
already accomplished on human beings. Blood transfusion was 
prohibited in England by the Parliament and in Italy by the Pope. 

We all know the story of King David, when he became old and 
stricken in years. The Bible tells us (Kings 1 : 1) that they cov- 
ered him with clothes but "he gat no heat." "Wherefore his 
servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my Lord the King 
a young virgin: . . . and let her lie in thy bosom that my Lord 
the King may get heat." And they sent for the beautiful Abishag, 
the Shunammite virgin, who slept by the king and served and 
left — as a virgin. Boerhaave, the famous Dutch physician of the 
seventeenth century, recommended an old burgomaster of Amster- 
dam to lie between two young girls, assuring him that he would 
thus recover strength and spirits. 

Hermippus, a teacher of a girls' school, lived to the age of 155 
and, according to his own statement, was kept young by the breath 
of young girls. Quoting from Hermippus: "When Thisbe, in the 
blooming flower of her age, decked by the Graces, taught by the 
Muses, converses with old Hermippus, her youth reanimates his 
age, and the clear flame with which her young heart glows lends 
its heat to that of the old man. Each time that the lovely virgin 
breathes, the sweet vapour which escapes from her breath is full 
of vivifying spirits which swim in her purple veins. And even as 
spirits attract spirits, so these same vapours mingle themselves 
on the instant with the blood of old Hermippus. From thence, 
passing through his body, they fill that same blood, so that we 


may say, almost without metaphor, that the spirit of Thisbe brings 
life to this old man." 

Rudolph I, one of the greatest admirers of women, also be- 
lieved that "the breath of a beautiful young girl is the best 
medicine in the world." When the king was 66 years old he mar- 
ried the glorious Agnes of Burgundy. During the wedding cere- 
monies the Bishop of Speyer assisted the bride from her carriage. 
The prelate was so struck by her dazzling beauty that he could 
not abstain from kissing the bride. His Majesty forbade the 
Bishop, after that, to visit the court, advising him to remain at 
home and kiss — instead of Agnes — the Agnus Dei (the Lamb of 
God). Even old Socrates reported that his shoulder, where a 
beautiful young girl had touched him, itched for five days. (St. 
Hieronymus suggested that the strength of the Devil was in his 
loins. Diaboli virtus in lumbis.) 

The French Count de Montlosier, a man who was reputed for 
his great originality and force of character, kept thirty cows in 
each wing of his house which communicated with its interior. The 
rooms were filled with the "sweet breath" of the animals and the 
Count attributed his physical power and old age to this contin- 
gency. When he had passed 80, his hearing and eyesight were 
perfect, he could read any type without glasses and retained his 
thirty-two teeth without decay. 

To retrace our lost steps to "real" honey, it is not surprising 
that beekeepers who, as a rule, consume (and also inhale) great 
quantities of honey and only rarely indulge in sugar, reach a ripe 
old age. This belief is very prevalent. The list of famous apiari- 
ans who passed eighty and even ninety years of age is almost 
endless. Frangois Huber, Dzierzon, Langstroth, Dr. C. C. Miller, 
A. I. Root, Charles Dadant, Thomas W. Cowan, for fifty years 
Editor of the British Bee Journal, are typical examples. John 
Anderson, lecturer on beekeeping at the University of Aberdeen, 
remarked: "There is nothing in the world that could beat honey 
as an aid to defy old age. Keep bees and eat honey if you want to 
live long. Beekeepers live longer than anybody else." Many old 
life-elixirs of great reputation contained honey. Parcelsus Bom- 


bastus ab Hohenheim, who traveled over half the world and 
collected wonder-working medicines from all quarters, was a great 
believer in the health-giving power of honey. 

Father Sebastian Kneipp, of "dew-walking" fame, mentioned 
that he knew a man, well over eighty, who prepared daily a drink 
at his dinner table, consisting of a tablespoonful of good ripe 
honey in a glassful of boiling water. "In my advanced age" — the 
man used to say — "I am thankful for my health and strength, 
which I attribute to this drink." Father Kneipp was one of the 
greatest propagandists of honey. He thought honey "a dissolv- 
ing, purifying, nourishing and strengthening substance," and 
freely dispensed it to patients who made pilgrimages to his sani- 
tarium from all over the world. Bernarr Macfadden's honey- 
grape fruit juice-water mixture, of which people drink several 
quarts daily without any other nourishment, is well known. 

On account of the author's known interest in honey, he is 
deluged with letters from all quarters praising the salubrious ef- 
fects of the substance. R. D. Horton, of Blossburg, Pa., wrote 
recently (in his own good handwriting) as follows: "Although 
ninety-one years old I cannot see any reason why I should not add 
some more years to my life if I continue the daily use of ripe 
honey (extracted) of which I have consumed for the last eleven 
years three pounds per week and a little more for supper (in 
combs). I cured myself from a heart disease when eighty years 
old, of which I suffered for five years. I am not a doctor or a 
chemist but a farmer and have kept bees for the last 57 years 
which was my hobby since boyhood. Some people call me a doctor 
because I helped and cured so many heart diseases, stomach ulcers 
and coughs with honey. I give bloated babies a spoonful of heated 
honey in warm milk, which does the trick." 

During his nearly half a century long medical practice the 
author has met many surprisingly energetic folk of advanced age 
with remarkably healthy complexions. In taking their histories, 
the report of a liberal daily dose of honey was seldom missing. 
About two years ago, a patient of his, a former Mayor of Kansas 


City, eighty years old, stepped into the office without an overcoat. 
The thermometer registered 14 below zero, besides, a blustering 
north wind was howling. When the patient was scolded for his 
recklessness, and at the same time was reminded of his age, he 
nonchalantly explained, "All my life I have been taking a goodly 
portion of honey for breakfast and I am not afraid of catching 
cold." Similar reports are not few and far between. A publisher 
consulted the writer last summer and he was impressed by the 
patient's ruddy cheeks, youthful expression and sparkling eyes. 
He did not look a day older than fifty. When asked about his age, 
the reply was, seventy-four. Further information about his mode 
of living revealed the same account, "a goodly portion of honey 
every morning for breakfast." 

It is a professional pleasure to chat with octogenarians, non- 
agenarians and centenarians and gather their secrets of physio- 
logical and mental longevity. They all seem to have had simple 
rules, consisting of regularity and moderation and a decided 
repudiation of most modern scientific principles. Metabolism did 
not seem to interest them. One "baby" in fact referred to meta- 
bolic diet as diabolic diet; and the proof of the pudding is in the 

It is true that the span of life has been increased in the last 
half century or so, mainly as the result of the reduction in child 
mortality. People, however, do not reach such an advanced age as 
in bygone days. No other factor could better explain the reason 
for the comparatively few veterans of the passing centuries than 
the quality and quantity of food and drink consumed. 

From the history of the Jews, we learn that Moses, who during 
his life was exposed to ordeals and fatigue, lived to the age of 
1 10; Abraham attained to the age of 175; his son, the peaceable 
Isaac, to 180; Jacob, who possessed more cunning, lived only to 
147; Ishmael, the warrior, to 137; the ever-active Joshua to no; 
Sarah to 127; and Joseph, much afflicted in his youth, to no. 
Josephus, the historian, commented on the advanced ages of 
ancient Jews: "Their food was fitted for the prolongation of life; 


and, besides, God afforded them a longer life on account of their 
virtue." The secrets of food seem to have been lost and the culti- 
vation of virtues forgotten. 

The Essenes (Essenos in Greek means king bee, the epithet of 
Zeus), a tribe among the Hebrews whose occupation was bee- 
keeping, enjoyed health and life much longer than other people. 
Many of them passed the hundred-year mark. Josephus thought 
that it was due to their "slender" diet. Honey surely was not 
missing from their bill of fare. 

Pliny mentions in his Natural History the traditional manner 
in which the inhabitants in the Po district placed their bee hives 
on floats and drifted along the river to supply their bees with new 
pastures. Apiculture must have been far advanced to furnish the 
great demand for honey. This was nearly twenty centuries ago, at 
the time of the birth of Christ. People in the olden days did not 
have sugar and, as they required and desired sweets, it is logical to 
surmise that they must have indulged in the sweetest of all, honey. 
Historical records amply confirm the supposition. 

In the seventh book of Pliny's work we find the following 

"The year of our Lord seventy-six, falling into the time of 
Vespasian, is memorable: in which we shall find, as it were, a 
kalendar of long-lived men; for that year there was a taxing 
(now a taxing is the most authentical and truest informer touch- 
ing the ages of men), and in that part of Italy which lieth between 
the Apennine mountains and the river Po, there were found 124 
persons that either equalled or exceeded a hundred years of age, 

Fifty-four of 100 years eac 

Fifty-seven 1 10 

Two 125 

Four 130 

Four 135 or 137 

Three 140 


Besides these, Parma, in particular, afforded five, whereof 

Three were 120 years each 

Two 130 

One in Bruxelles 125 

One in Placentia 131 

One in Faventia 132 

A certain town, then called the Velleiatium, situated in the hills 
about Placentia, afforded ten, whereof 

Six were 1 10 years each 

Four 120 

One in Rimino, whose name was 

Marcus Aponius 150." 

Pliny quotes from Alexander Cornelius that an Illyrian, named 
Daudon, lived for 500 years. According to Lucian, Tiresias lived 
for six centuries. Epimenides of Crete had seen three centuries 
succeed each other. Onomocritus, the Athenian, reports that cer- 
tain men in Greece and their families enjoyed perpetual youth. 

Pliny has written more about the nutritional and medicinal 
value of honey than any other ancient author. In his day, honey 
was an important food and a component of most popular drinks. 
Pliny's frequent eulogy of honey and the above statistics must 
have some correlation. 

Honey was an important food, medicine and a principal com- 
modity, and mead the universal drink also among the ancient 
Britons. The bardic name of Great Britain was, "the honey 
isle of bell" There is not a shadow of a doubt but that the 
inhabitants of the British Isles freely indulged in honey. Pliny re- 
ported that these "Islanders" consumed a great quantity of honey- 
brew. Tickner Edwardes remarks, "among the Anglo-Saxons the 
beehives supplied the whole nation, from the King down to the 
poorest serf, not only with an important part of their food but 
with drink and light as well." It is not surprising that the old 
Britons reached a ripe old age. Plutarch remarked, "the ancient 
Britons only begin to grow old at 120 years." The following 
documentary evidences may be of interest: 


Thomas Cam, according to the parish register of the church of 
St. Leonard, Shoreditch, died on January 28, 1588, aged 207 
years. He was born under the reign of Richard II (1381 a.d.) 
and lived through the reigns of twelve kings and queens of 

Thomas Parr, a native of Shropshire, died on the 16th day of 
November, 1635, at the age of 152. There is a story about Parr 
that he was asked by his sovereign Charles I. what he had done 
in his long life that other people could not accomplish. He 
answered that the Church had ordered him, when he was 102, 
to do penance. Thomas Parr at that age fell in love with 
Catherine Milton and had a child by her. Later, at the age 
of 120, he married a widow. Shortly before his death Parr was 
invited to London by the Earl of Arundel, where he was intro- 
duced to his monarch and royally feasted. The rich food he 
indulged in, did not agree with him and he died soon after- 
ward. An autopsy was performed which revealed a congestion 
(plethora) of his viscera, otherwise the doctor who made the 
postmortem found his internal organs in perfect condition and 
believed that Parr could have lived for many more years if it 
had not been for his visit to London. Parr's maxim was, to 
keep one's head cool by temperance and the feet warm by exer- 
cise j to go to bed early and to rise early ; and if one were 
inclined to become fat, he should keep his eyes open and his 
mouth shut. Parr's grandfather, a native of Bedfordshire, died 
in his 100th year. At the age of 85, he had a complete set of 
new teeth and his snowy hair became darker (Philosophical 
Transactions, Vol. XXIII). It was recorded of Parr that he was 
very fond of metheglin (honey wine). 

Henry Jenkins, a native of Yorkshire, lived to the age of 169 
years and died on the 8th day of December, 1670, as a result 
of a chill. It is said about Fisherman Jenkins that shortly be- 
fore his death he was still swimming like a fish. He left one son 
102 and another 100 years old. 

Catherine, the Countess of Desmond, died in Ireland in 161 2 and 


saw her 148th year. She renewed her teeth thrice during her 

life, according to Lord Bacon. 
Thomas Damme died in 1648 at the age of 154. 
James Bowels, aged 152, lived in Killingworth and died on the 

15th day of August, 1656. 
Mr. Eccleston, a native of Ireland, lived to the age of 143, died 

in the year 1691. 
Peter Torton died in 1724 at the age of 185. 
John Ronsey, Esq., of the island of Distrey, Scotland, died in 

1738, aged 137. He had a son one hundred years old, who 

inherited his estate. 
Margaret Patten, a Scotch woman, died in 1739 at the age of 137. 
Colonel Thomas WinsJoe, a native of Ireland, aged 146, died on 

the 22nd day of August, 1766. 
Francis Consist, a native of Yorkshire, aged 150, died January, 

William Ellis, of Liverpool, died on the 16th day of August, 

1780, at the age of 130. 
Kentigern, the Bishop of Glasgow, called also St. Monagh, lived 

to the age of 185, which is certified on his monument, erected 

in 1781. 
Margaret Foster, aged 136, and her daughter, aged 104, natives 

of Cumberland, were both alive in the year 1771. 
John Mount, a native of Scotland, who saw his 136th year, died 

on the 27th day of February, 1776. 
William Evans, of Carnarvon, aged 145, still existed in 1782. 
Dumiter Radaloy, aged 140, who lived in Harmenstead, died on 

the 1 6th day of January, 1782. 
Sir Owen of Scotland died at the age of 124; he left a natural 

son, born to him when he was 98. Sir Owen lived on milk, 

honey, vegetables, water and wine, and during the last year of 

his life he walked 74 miles in 6 days. 
Peter Garden, a Scotchman, died at the age of 131. He was a tall 

and lean person and kept the appearance of the freshness of 

youth until his very end. 


John Taylor, a Scotch miner, lived to 1325 always smoked and 

kept his teeth sound until his death. 
James Sands, an Englishman of the sixteenth century, died when 

140; his wife, at the age of 120. 
Lawrence Hutland, of the Orkney Islands, reached the age of 


Almost all these people came from a low station of life, except 
the Countess of Desmond. Their diets were, without exception, 
moderate, and in some instances, abstemious. Sir William Temple 
(the author of Health and hong Life), who also reached an old 
age, remarked, with respect to moderation in alcoholic drinks, 
"The first glass I drink for myself; the second for my friends; 
the third for good humor; and the fourth for my enemies." Sir 
William thought that "health and long life are usually the bless- 
ings of the poor." With regard to the influence of sex functions 
on longevity, it is remarkable that most men who reached an 
extreme age were "much" married and at a very late period of 
their lives. De Longueville, who lived to the age of no, had ten 
wives and married again when 99. He had a son when he was 
10 1 years old. Great corporeal strength, acquired by labor or 
athletics, does not favor longevity. Few people with great physi- 
cal prowess arrive at a great age. 

Piast, the beekeeper, who was elected King of Poland in 824 
a.d. and whose family ruled Poland for several centuries with 
the greatest glory, lived to the age of 120. That he indulged in 
honey and mead is proven by the contemporary legends. 

These are all authentic records. If we also accept the reports 
about abnormally advanced ages mentioned in the Bible, like that 
of Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah (Genesis 5:27), who is 
believed to have lived to the age of 969 years, we must admit 
that during bygone generations longevity far exceeded that of the 
present times. They say that at the time of the patriarchs the 
years were shorter than they are at present, according to some 
historians, one-fourth of our calculation. Each season was sup- 


posed to have represented a year. Even so Methuselah would 
have lived 242 years. We call our modern patriarchs old at 90. 

St. Patrick died in 491 a.d. at the age of 122. St. David lived 
to the age of 146, St. Simon was martyred at the age of 107. 
St. Narcissus died at the age of 165 and St. Anthony at 105, and 
Paul, the Hermit, at the age of 113. Several monks of Mt. Athos 
reached the age of 150. Albuna, the first Bishop of Ethiopia, lived 
beyond the century and a half mark. Attila, who reigned over the 
Huns in the fifth century, was supposed to have died during 
his wedding festivities (not the first either) at the age of 124 
years. The Chaldean, Egyptian, Chinese, Greek and Roman writ- 
ers often mention very advanced ages. Asclepiades, the Persian 
physician, died at the age of 150, Galen at 140, Sophocles at the 
age of 130. Hirpanus, according to Pliny, lived 155 years and 
5 days. (Some historians are convinced that he referred to Her- 

Among the Slavic races, we also find parallel instances. Old 
records mention that Peter Czartan, a peasant, died in 1724 in 
Belgrade when he was 185 years old and was still engaged in 
begging, a few days before his death. He left behind a son 155 
years old, and another 97 years old. A Russian of Polozk, hale 
and hearty in 1796, was supposed to have married the third time 
when 93 years old, and to have lived to the age of 163. He had 
138 descendants} at the time of his death his youngest son was 
62. John Rovin, of the town of Temesvar, formerly in Hungary, 
reached, according to records, the age of 1 72 and his wife, Sarah 
Rovin, the age of 164. They were married for 148 years and they 
had a 116-year-old son. Hungary was a well-known Eldorado of 
beekeeping and honey always was and still is in great favor. 
Humboldt assures us that he became personally acquainted there 
with a peasant, aged 143, whose wife was 117. 

We find many similar reports among African and Asiatic tribes. 
A peasant of Bengal, named Numas de Cugna, is alleged to have 
reached the age of 370 years. He died in 1566. Cugna grew four 
new sets of teeth and the color of his hair frequently changed 
from gray to black and the reverse. Roger Bacon refers to Papa- 


lius, of German origin, a prisoner of the Saracens, who lived to 
500 years. M. Solarville, in 1870, computed that there were 
62,503 people in Europe above the age of 100. 

All this plainly demonstrates that science, civilization and our 
present regimen of food not only do not contribute to longevity 
but the reverse. Culture and art, in general, seem to have cur- 
tailed life. There must be some confusion between the discovery 
and the application of the fundamental principles of Nature. 

Most authors who pointed the way to longevity, failed to at- 
tain to the aim of long life. Sir Francis Bacon, who wrote the 
famous treatise, History of Life and Death, died at sixty-five. 
Medical men, especially those who have written a great deal on 
the subject, died far below the average of standard life. Hippo- 
crates, who lived to the age of 109, was one of the few exceptions 
but he was also a student of Nature and had spent his life in the 
country, calling on patients, very probably, on foot. 

The golden rule of longevity seems to be moderation and 
simple, natural food. Every animal, but man, keeps to one dish. 
Pythagoras, who was a great philosopher and also a physician, 
laid down the principle that simple food is the best means to 
sustain life. He went even further when he made the statement 
that there is no disorder to which human nature is incident that 
could not be cured by such simple things as the Almighty Creator 
has provided. Honey was for Pythagoras No. 1 on the list. His 
disciples all reached an advanced age. Benjamin Franklin also 
emphasized that "against diseases known, the strongest fence is 
the defensive virtue, abstinence." Hufeland believed that it is 
within man's power to extend his existence to at least two hundred 
years. Buffon was a little more conservative; he thought the natu- 
ral length of human life should be one hundred years. 

Simple life and nature cures had many enthusiastic advocates 
during the Middle Ages. A book, edited by a Lover of Mankind, 
Nature, the Best Physician or Every Man, His Own Doctor 
(printed at Shakespeare's Head, 17 Paternoster Row, 1745), sug- 
gests remedies for all ailments consisting of products collected 


from Nature's fields and gardens. Honey was a component of 
many of his remedies. 

Thuanis, in the Third Book of his Historia Sui Temporis de- 
scribes an incident which occurred in 1 540. There was a "Cause" 
tried before the Parliament of Dijon. Thuanis' father was the 
presiding judge. Among the witnesses examined was Peter 
L'Marr, aged 40, who was so infirm that he was scarcely able to 
deliver his evidence. When asked by the President the nature of 
his illness, he answered that a great part of his life had been 
spent in tampering with medicines which reduced him to the mis- 
erable state in which he appeared. Thuanis explains that the 
processes of Equity were "rather" slow those days in France and 
the same "Cause" was submitted again for decision before the Par- 
liament of Paris in 15 90. Thuanis was appointed advocate for the 
plaintiff. One of the witnesses was Jean L'Marr, aged 90. When 
the evidence was read of the first trial (50 years before) the name 
of Peter L'Marr came up and Jean was asked whether he 
was related to the other L'Marr he answered, "Yes, I am the 
twin brother of Peter who died about 49 years ago, a short time 
after he gave testimony at the first trial." Thuanis, himself much 
advanced in age, remembered that trial which occurred during 
his student days. Curious to know how Jean had preserved his 
health so well, he asked him about his mode of living. The answer 
was, "I live regularly and frugally and when I am ill I never con- 
sult the Faculty but take only remedies which Nature's gardens 
provide (honey among them), with the consequence that I soon 
recover without being obliged to swallow 'nauseous loads of phys- 
ics'." Jean L'Marr lived for many years afterwards and died 
after a short illness. 


Speaking of abstinence, we cannot fail to mention the life 
of Luigi Cornaro (1464 to 1566), a wealthy Venetian noble- 
man, the most famous valetudinarian and the immortal proto- 


type of abstemious living. His experience is a remarkable in- 
stance of the efficacy of temperance toward procuring long life. 
Up to his thirty-fifth year Cornaro had led a life of dissipation, so 
much so that he was deprived of all honors and privileges to 
which he was entitled on account of noble birth. A descendant 
of a family of many Doges (Duce) of Venice and of ancestors 
who rivaled with kings, he was not even permitted to occupy a 
State position. His health was so far gone under the weight of 
infirmities that physicians assured him that he could not live 
longer than two months and that all medicines were useless. One 
physician, however, suggested the observance of a most meager 
diet as the only hope. Cornaro followed the advice and rapidly 
improved. He became active and happy and healthier than he 
ever had been before, and he also regained the respect and affec- 
tion of his fellow-citizens in spite of all disadvantages of his early 
life. They soon conferred upon him the epithet, "The Temper- 
ate." Later he married and had a daughter. The fact alone that 
he had a female descendant proved that constitutionally he was 
stronger than his wife because Nature, infallibly, favors the 
weaker sex. 

Cornaro's diet consisted of bread, light broth, eggs, veal, mut- 
ton, fowl, birds, such as partridge or thrush, and occasionally 
fish. The only sweet he indulged in was honey. He lived on this 
diet during all his remaining years ; consuming daily not more 
than twelve ounces of solid food and thirteen ounces of liquid. 
The quantity and variety fully satisfied him. When seventy years 
old, he suffered an accident and was seriously injured. His horses 
bolted, upset the carriage and dragged him along the road. Physi- 
cians gave up hope for his life. They suggested blood-letting and 
a strong physic but he refused both. Cornaro, in spite of all, 
quickly recovered without complication. 

When eighty years old, his friends prevailed on him to make 
a slight addition to his meals. On their persuasion he increased the 
solid food to fourteen ounces and drinks to sixteen. Ten days later 
he became uneasy, dejected and choleric, a burden, as he re- 


marked, to himself and others. He resumed his former regimen 
and immediately felt better. 

Cornaro wrote his autobiography, The Temperate Life, in four 
discourses with the intent of glorifying "divine sobriety." To 
quote him: "Divine Sobriety, pleasing to God, the friend of 
Nature, the daughter of reason, the sister of virtue, the companion 
of temperate living, . . . the loving mother of human life, the true 
medicine both of the soul and of the body; how much should men 
praise and thank thee for thy courteous gifts! for thou givest them 
the means of preserving life in health, that blessing than which 
it did not please God we should have a greater in this world — life 
and existence, so naturally prized, so willingly guarded by every 
living creature!" The respective parts were published in the 83rd, 
86th, 91st, and 95th years of his life. These treatises, which ought 
to be important contributions to medical literature, gave inspira- 
tion to many in the pursuit of a temperate life. 

The life of Cornaro is remarkable in every respect. He had a 
happy disposition considering his advanced age. "I never knew 
the world was so beautiful until I reached old age," he used to 
say. Cornaro was devoid of peevishness and morosity, altogether 
too often the lot of old age. After meals he felt he had to sing 
and often commented on the good quality of his voice j after sing- 
ing he wrote eight hours daily, for the benefit of humanity. When 
eighty-three he climbed steep hills and walked a great deal. 
Hunting was his favorite sport. Cornaro's memory, intellect and 
senses were unaffected. He died peacefully in his one hundred 
and third year as one who falls asleep, all but pen in hand. 

Cornaro's favorite sayings were: 

To eat nothing but what is necessary to sustain life. 

The food from which one abstains is more beneficial than that which is 

A man cannot be a perfect physician to anyone, except to himself. 
As you grow older, eat less. 
An old man who lives regularly and temperately, even though he is of 

poor constitution, is more likely to live than a young man in perfect 

health if addicted to disorderly habits. 



His aphorisms on longevity were often repeated by Francis Bacon, 
Sir William Temple and others who have written on life and 

Cornaro's portrait by Tintoretto in the Pitti Palace, Florence 
(No. 83), and his beautiful palace in Padua, one of the most 
remarkable buildings in Italy, with its magnificent loggia, are 
often pointed out and remain monuments to Divine Sobriety and 
Longevity. He was a friend of reason and an enemy of gluttony, 
intemperance and sensuality. 

Horace Fletcher, the advocator of famous "fletcherizing", sug- 
gested eating when hungry and swallowing only well-chewed 
food. Mahatma Gandhi lives on goat's milk and simple sugars, 
such as honey and dates. He firmly believes that by regulating 
what enters the stomach we control what enters the brain. 



TO SUBDIVIDE the dietetic and medicinal values of honey 
is rather a difficult task. Wholesome food preserves health 
and likewise prevents or aids the cure of a disease. The advantages 
attributed to honey as an aliment apply as well to its medicinal 
properties. The rapid assimilation of invert sugars which honey 
contains makes it, for instance, a desirable source of quick energy, 
a practical food and, at the same time, an effective heart stimulant. 

The use of honey as an internal and external remedial agent 
must be much older than the history of medicine itself j it is, 
beyond doubt, the oldest panacea. While primeval man had to 
search first and probe the curative effects of the various organic 
and inorganic substances, honey, the greatest delicacy of Nature 
within his easy reach, surely could not have escaped his attention 
very long and he must soon have become convinced of its supreme 
curative value. 

In the most ancient scripts we already find references to honey 
as a glorified food, an ingredient of favored drinks, a popular 
medicine and the principal component of liniments and plasters. 
The oldest mythologies praised the invigorating and health-giving 
qualities of honey. Many allusions were made to its magic healing 

The Bible (both the Old and New Testaments), the Talmud, 
the Koran, the sacred books of India, China, Persia and Egypt, all 
speak of honey in laudatory terms, as a food, beverage and 

Honey is frequently mentioned in the Bible. Solomon in his 
Proverbs (24:13) advises: "My son, eat thou honey, for it is 



good." The Jews advocated honey as a producer of wit and intel- 
lect} it was supposed to make one "mentally keen." Moses, when 
exposed in the fields, sucked honey from a pebble (Exod. R. 23:8). 
The resuscitating and invigorating effects of honey are disclosed 
in the Bible. Jonathan, the son of Saul, had his eyes enlightened 
with the aid of honey, after which he had a better understanding 
of the people than his father had. While Jonathan was passing 
through the woods during the war against the Philistines, he 
found honey dripping on the ground} he plunged his spear into 
it, and ate enough to restore his lost strength. He was, however, 
sentenced to death because he ate honey on a day of abstinence. 

Honey was referred to in most ancient writings as a gift of God. 
St. Ambrose said: "The fruit of the Bees is desired of all, and 
is equally sweet to Kings and Beggars and it is not only pleasing 
but profitable and healthful, it sweetens their mouthes, cures their 
wounds and convaies remedies to inward Ulcers." 

The Koran, the Code of Islam, recommended honey as a 
wholesome food and excellent medicine. In the XVIth Chapter 
of the Koran, entitled The Bee, we find: "There proceedeth from 
their bellies a liquor of various colour, wherein is medicine for 
men." The "various colour" refers to the diversified colors of 
honeys. Mohammed pronounced: "Honey is a remedy for all dis- 
eases." The Prophet ordered the eating of honey not only because 
it was an exquisite food and an important healing substance but 
because it brought one good luck. The followers of Islam looked 
upon honey as a talisman. The Mohammedans, to whom alco- 
holic fermented drinks were prohibited, drank their water with 
honey, which habit still prevails among the African Mohamme- 
dan negroes. Ismael Abulfeda, the thirteenth century historian, 
relates how Mohammed, on the day after his wedding to Safiya 
Hoya, a Jewess of Aaron's tribe, celebrated the occasion with 
a luxurious meal. Among the main delicacies, he mentions honey, 
dates and cream. When Mohammed reached the seventh heaven 
he found Christ, Who ordered Archangel Gabriel to offer Mo- 
hammed a cup filled with honey. The Mohammedan conception 
of Paradise was "rivers flowing with honey." 


According to a Mohammedan legend, young Abraham (Abu- 
ram), who lived about 2000 b.c. spent fifteen months in a cave. 
On Allah's order, he obtained water from his thumb, milk from 
his index finger, honey from the middle one, date juice from 
the fourth, and butter from his little finger. 

There is a story that a man once went to Mohammed and told 
him that his brother was afflicted with violent pains in his belly 
and with diarrhea, upon which the prophet bade him give his 
brother honey. He heeded the prophet's advice, but soon returned 
and reported to Mohammed that the medicine had not done his 
brother any good. Mohammed exclaimed: "Go and give him 
more honey, for God speaks true, and thy brother's belly lies." 
The dose being repeated, the man, by God's mercy and the salu- 
tary effect of honey, was cured. The Koran repeatedly mentions 
the technical skill of the bees in producing sweet honey from 
the bitter juices of plants. Mohammed maintained that medi- 
cines administered by physicians are bitter but those given by 
God are as sweet as honey. (The moderns believe that the more 
bitter the medicine the better the doctor.) An Arabic writer 
(Ibn Magih) quotes the words of the Prophet: "Honey is a 
medicine for the body and the Koran is medicine for the soul; 
benefit yourselves by the use of the Koran and of honey." The 
Arabs, before they ate honey, exclaimed: "Bism Allah" (in the 
name of Allah) or "Allah Akbar" (Allah the greatest). The Ara- 
bic name 01 the bee is nahlat, which means a gift — of course — of 
Allah, and han means honey. Apparently it was the root of 
the German "honig" and English "honey." Arabia was the last 
stepping stone before honey invaded Europe from the East. 

Honey must have been abundant in ancient Egypt. The He- 
brews referred to it as "a land flowing with milk and honey." 
The Egyptian papyri are full of praise about the curative prop- 
erties of honey. The Papyrus Ebers especially praised its medic- 
inal value. According to this most ancient source of knowledge, 
honey was not only a staple commodity but a popular medicine, 
extensively used internally, and also externally in surgical dress- 
ings for burns, ulcers and preeminently for weakness and in- 


flammation of the eyes. Laxative and worm remedies of ancient 
Egypt without exception contained honey. Milk and honey was 
their choice for infant feeding. There were only a few medicines 
in ancient Egypt which did not contain honey. The bee, its pro- 
ducer, occupies a prominent place in all hieroglyphic writings. 
Most prescriptions of the papyri were taken to Greece and the 
Greeks introduced them to Europe where they are still used 

In ancient China honey was used only as a component of diets 
and as a medicine. The Chinese never utilized honey as a sweet- 
ening substance. China is the native land of the sugar cane, and 
for this reason bees were rarely cultivated. Even today in the 
interior of China, honey can be obtained only in the old-style 
medicine shops. 

In India, Persia, Arabia, Assyria, Greece and in the Roman 
Empire, honey was much in demand as a remedial agent for in- 
ternal and external use. On the entire European Continent it was 
in popular use, especially among the Slavic and Nordic races. In 
the Eddas we find that the life of Liafsburg, the mother of Saint 
Lindgar, was saved with a spoonful of honey. 

If we review the therapeutic field in which honey was used by 
the ancients, we find that its main employment was as a helpful 
remedy for gastric and intestinal disorders, especially as a pleasant 
laxative. Respiratory troubles were next in order. The sedative 
and soporific power of honey is often emphasized. The diuretic 
effect of honey was well known and it was a favored remedy for all 
kinds of inflammation of the kidneys, for gravel and stones. The 
antiseptic property of honey made it a desirable gargle, expec- 
torant and a valuable adjunct in mouth hygiene. In inflammation 
of the eyes and eyelids honey was extensively used. Attic honey 
had a special reputation as a curative substance for eye disorders. 
The Egyptians carried its fame with them to their country. In 
one of the Egyptian papyri it is mentioned that a man begged 
that they fetch him some honey from Attica which he needed for 
his eyes. In surgical dressings and skin diseases it was a remedy of 
first choice. The smallpox patients were anointed with honey. It 


was also employed as a vehicle for nauseous or bitter medicines. 
Lucretius referred to it 2000 years ago: 

"Physician-like, who when a bitter draught 
Of wormwood is disgusted by a child 
To cheat his taste, he brims the nauseous cup 
With the sweet lure of honey." 

Hippocrates was a great believer in honey. He considered it 
a very good expectorant. According to Hippocrates, the physical 
virtues of honey were: "It causes heat, cleans sores and ulcers, 
softens hard ulcers of the lips, heals carbuncles and running 
sores." (Hippocrates alleged that if the seeds of cucumbers and 
other plants are first soaked in honey and then planted, "the fruit 
that groweth of them will taste sweeter.") He recommended 
honey for difficulty in breathing because "it causes spitting." 
Hippocrates believed that honey "with other things" is nourish- 
ing and induces a good complexion but eaten alone it attenuates 
rather than refreshes because it provokes urine and purges too 
much. According to the legend (Samuel Purchas, A Theatre of 
Politicall Flying Insects, 1657, p. I ^3)j a swarm of bees lived for 
a long time in the sepulcher of Hippocrates, the prince of physi- 
cians, and produced honey there. Nurses carried children to the 
grave and anointed their lips with this magic honey which easily 
cured them. Dioscorides, the Greek physician (first century a.d.), 
whose Materia Medica is one of the oldest sources of medical 
knowledge, often mentions honey as an excellent medicine. He 
also praises the medicinal value of wax, propolis and honey-wine. 

Cornelius Celsus remarked in De Medicina (first half of the 
first century a.d.) that a physician must heal in a safe, quick 
and pleasing manner (tuto, a to et jucunde), and all this could 
be best accomplished with honey. 

Galen recommended the mixing of four parts of honey with 
one part of gall of the sea-tortoise which, when dropped into 
the eyes, would improve the sight. To quote Marcellus: "The 
honey pure and neat wherein the Bees are dead, let that drop 


into the eyes; or honey mixt with the ashes of the heads of Bees, 
makes the eyes very clear." Pliny also credited honey in which 
bees have died with the faculty of relieving dullness of sight and 
hearing. In antiquity, honey had a great reputation in producing 
clearer vision, which may be the reason for its reputation of en- 
dowing the power of divination, improving thus not only the 
physical but also the spiritual sight. Some historians believe that 
when Jeroboam sent his wife with a cruse of honey to the prophet 
Ahijah it was meant as a remedy for the prophet's blindness. 

Honey and dead bees were used by Galen for growing hair. 
"Take Bees dead in combs, and when they are through dry 
make them into powder, mingle them with the honey in which 
they died and anoint the parts of the Head that are bald and 
thin-haired, and you shall see them grow again." The Syriac Book 
of Medicines recommends a handful of bees roasted in oil as a 
remedy to turn gray hair black. This ancient book of medical 
knowledge contains three hundred recipes in which honey is an 
important ingredient (over fifty of them contain wax). 

Celsus recommended raw honey as a laxative and boiled honey 
as a cure for diarrhea. The reason, he thought, was because "the 
acrimony is taken away by boyling which wont to move the belly 
and to diminish the virtue of the food" (Libr. 3 C. 3). Galen 
recommended boiled and only seldom raw honey but forbids long 
or too intensive heating because this would make honey bitter. 
The Hindu physicians assumed that fresh honey was a laxative 
and honey which was over a year old, an astringent. Pliny burned 
the bees, mixed their ashes with honey and used the substance 
for all kinds of ailments: "Powdered bees with milk, wine or 
honey will surely cure dropsy, dissolve gravel and stones, will 
open all passages of urine and cure the stopping of the bladder. 
Bees pounded with honey cure griping of the belly." Muffet 
also had faith in honey with dead bees. "Honey wherein is found 
dead Bees is a very wholesome medicine, serving for all diseases." 
Aelian reported that honey from Pontus cured epilepsy. 

Porphyry thought that honey had four excellent qualities: first, 
it is a nourishing food; second, a good cleanser; third, it has heal- 


ing power j and fourth, it is pleasant on account of its sweetness. 
According to Aristoxenus (320 B.C.), anyone who eats honey, 
spring onions and bread for his daily breakfast will be free from 
all diseases throughout his lifetime. The ancient Hindus had 
great faith in the medicinal virtues and magic properties of 
honey, especially of aged honey. They used it mainly for coughs, 
pulmonary troubles, gastric and bilious disorders. The famous 
Arab physicians, such as El Madjoussy and El Basry, all spoke in 
laudatory terms of the curative power of honey and liberally 
used it in their professions for a variety of ailments. Arab physi- 
cians were reputed to cure tuberculosis with an extract made from 
the petals of roses and honey. The efficacy of this medicine was 
recognized for many centuries. Rosed honey is yet an official 
remedy in most modern pharmacopoeias. Paul of Aegina, Aetius, 
Oribasius were other honey enthusiasts. 

The Koran recommended honey not only as a wholesome food, 
but as a useful diuretic, a laxative, an excellent remedy for vari- 
ous distempers, particularly those occasioned by phlegm, and 
also as a substance greatly assisting labor pains. 

Norman Douglas decribes in his Paneros the love-philters of 
antiquity and the value of honey in the preparations of amative 
elixirs. Besides honey, according to Douglas, the wings of bees 
have been used. 

Honey was an important ingredient of all ancient satyriaca 
{ad cohum irritantia tentaginem facientia). The ancients had im- 
plicit faith in the power of honey to increase strength and virility. 
(The French consider not only honey but also the sting of the 
bee a powerful aphrodisiac.) The Hindu novices for priesthood 
had to abstain from meat, women, perfumes and . . . honey. 

The ancients believed that people who fared freely on honey 
became more congenial and affectionate. They considered honey 
a cure for a sour disposition and bitter feelings. Pliny said: "All 
acrimony of the mind is pacified with sweet liquers, the spirits 
are made peaceable, the passages made softer and fitter for 
transpiration} and they are also good physick for manners." 
Pythagoras thought that body and soul function in harmony and 


that no food could be considered beneficial to one without being 
subservient to the other. He believed, for instance, that music 
was food for the soul and likewise conducive to good health. 
David played the harp before King Saul to cure his melancholy. 


The population of the Middle Ages had great faith in honey. 
This is best illustrated by the statement of Charles Butler in the 
History of Bees, 1623: "Hoonni cleareth all the obstructions of 
the body, lossenth the belly, purgeth the foulness of the body 
and provoketh urine. It cutteth and casteth up Flegmatic matter 
and therefore sharpneth the stomachs of them, which by reason 
thereof have little appetite ; it purgeth those things which hurt 
the clearness of the eyes and nourisheth very much. It breedeth 
good blood it sturreth up and preserveth natural heat and pro- 
longeth old age 5 physicians do temper therewith such medicines 
as they mean keep long; yea the bodys of the dead, being en- 
balmed with Hoonni, have been thereby preserved from putre- 
faction. It is drunk against the biting of a Serpent or mad Dog 
and it is good for them, which have eaten mushrooms or drunk 
Poppy; against which evil Rosed-hoonni is taken warm. It is 
also good for falling sickness and better than wine because it can- 
not arise to the head as wine doeth. Hoonni is most fit for old 
men, women and children, for such as rheumatic and flegmatic 
and generally for all that are of cold temperature. To young men 
and that of a hot constitution is not so good because it easily 
turned into kholer." 

The climax of Butler's statement is "Hoonni is altered by dis- 
tillation into a water which Raimundus Lullius (that excellent 
Kymist) called the Quintessence of Hoonni. This quintessence 
dissolveth gold and makes it potable; likewise any sort of precious 
stone that is put therein. It is of such virtue that if any be dying 
and drink two or three drams thereof, presently he will revive. 
If you wash any wound therewith, it will heal quickly. It is good 
also against cough, catarrh and pains of the melt and against 


many other diseases. It helpeth also falling sickness and pre- 
serveth the body from putrefaction. Of so marvellous efficacy 
is this water." Butler thought that honey "comforts and strength- 
ens the stomach in the wise." 

Samuel Purchas, pastor of Sutton, Essex (1657), claimed that 
it would require "a good day's work" to enumerate the worth and 
benefits of honey. Don Juan Manuel, from the royal house of 
Castile and Leon, the 13th century Spanish writer of stories, in 
his El Conde Lucanor still uses the old Spanish word melezina 
(mel=honey) instead of medicina (medicine). 

Hieronymus Bock, in Teutsche Sfeiszkammer, Strassburg, 
1539, made the same comments about honey as Charles Butler 
and both seem to quote the writings of Dioscorides (Libr. II), 
who believed that honey was best for weak and old people and 
for those of cold temperament. In young and "hot" people honey 
turns into gall. Old people obtain from honey good food and 
new blood. Dioscorides advocated the inhaling of honey for 
coughs, and its internal use as a good diuretic. Honey, he thought, 
was good for those who were poisoned by opium and mushrooms 
or were bitten by snakes and mad dogs. Dioscorides recommended 
that honey should be rubbed into the hair to kill lice and nits. 

Jos. Roach, in Parnassus medicinalis, Ulm, 1663, eulogized 
honey in verses. For instance, 

"Der Honig treibt den Ham 

Und ist zur Lunge gut, 

Von Husten, Faulung auch 

Es stark bewahren tut." 

(Honey drives the urine, is good to the lungs and a 

strong protector against cough and decay.) 

An old English chronicle remarks: "Honey is still our chief 
sweetness, favorite salve and indispensable medicine." 

(The German women for centuries had great faith in a pop- 
ular remedy called Salvemet, made from honey and crushed bees. 
This was taken on St. Catherine's day and was supposed to have 


a beautifying and strengthening effect, besides regulating the 
menstrual flow.) 

We find evidence in the folklore of almost all nations of 
the faith the rural population had in the curative, even magic 
power of honey. Youthful America is no exception. In the Journal 
of American Folklore (II Vol.) there is an illustrative tale told 
by an old woman. The story is about Mark Flaherty who was 
riding home once after sunset when he heard a voice behind him. 
Turning around, he could see no one. Arriving home he heard 
the same mysterious voice but was unable to trace its source. After 
retiring he could not sleep and had a feeling that somebody was 
sitting on his chest. Next morning he noticed that his hair had 
turned gray overnight. Towards evening he distinctly heard the 
same voice again and noticed that a man was crawling in his 
direction. Trying to nab the figure it vanished. Flaherty there- 
after was afraid to go out in the dark, became ill and emaciated. 

A beggar called on him one day and when he learned of his 
predicament advised him to get some honey and rub his entire 
body with it. The bees suck the strength of flowers which they 
mix with their own honey and that would cure him, turn his hair 
dark again and his cheeks rosy. Flaherty followed the suggestion 
and he fully recovered. He never heard the weird voice again. 


Honey plays an insignificant part in our modern Materia 
Medica, though strained, clarified, borated and rose honey are 
listed in many pharmacopoeias. The mel depuratum (clarified 
honey) is rather an inadequate substance because it is subjected 
to heating and is filtered through cloth which also robs it of some 
mineral elements. 

In lay, let us call it unscientific medicine, especially in the rural 
districts, however, honey is today a more popular nostrum than 
the medical profession would surmise. Physicians, with few ex- 
ceptions, grin broadly at the mere mention of the medicinal and 
food merits of honey. Of course, the name honey sounds rather 


homely, almost dilettant. How much more knowledge and intel- 
ligence the term, cinchophen, for example, reveals. This sub- 
stance was widely advertised and the medical fraternity, con- 
formably, employed it. It soon became so popular that the general 
public began to use it indiscriminately. After it had caused 
irreparable harm and many patients had died from its effect, the 
sale without a prescription was prohibited. This is only one in- 
stance. On the other hand, people will ignore good things which 
are within their reach. 

Something should be done to induce the medical profession 
to look more carefully into the remedial and dietetic value of 
honey. On the European continent, where physicians are paid 
for keeping patients in good health, honey is freely used. It is 
time that American physicians should do likewise and obviate the 
possibility of a rather embarrassing accusation that instead of pre- 
venting disease, they prevent health. It is the physician's duty 
to help and to educate the public. 

In antiquity and all through the Middle Ages, honey was an 
important medicine. Up to the end of the last century, it still 
held the place of honor in the service of Aesculapius. Only with 
the advent of the millions of patented and well-advertised do- 
mestic and imported whatnots was honey almost banished as a 
curative substance, the same fate which it suffered as a sweeten- 
ing matter upon the introduction of refined sugar. Thanks to the 
simple country-folk and to the primitive races, honey is yet in its 
glory as a dispenser of health and as a valued remedy. Honey 
cures were popular in many European countries for the tired 
feeling caused by the so-called spring fever. 

The consideration alone that a snake is pictured coiled around 
the stick of Aesculapius, eager to feast from a cup of honey, ought 
to be sufficient exhortation to medical men to be more interested in 
this substance. (Aesculapius, the god of Medicine, who not only 
healed the sick but restored the dead to life, held the snake 
sacred. The snake was the emblem of health and recovery. The 
snakes were fed on honey or honey cakes. Whoever entered the 
cave of Trophonius had to throw honey cake to the snakes 


(Pausanias IX. 39:5). Honey was also the favorite food of the 
fabled serpent, the guardian of the Acropolis (Herodot. VIII. 
41). The snake of Aesculapius in Cos was given honey and honey 
cake (Herondas IV. 90 j Virgil Aeneid IV. 484). 

Among the Asiatic races, including the Chinese and the Hindu, 
and among the Egyptians, Arabs and the African tribes, honey 
is still considered an excellent protective food and a sovereign 
internal and external remedy. Amongst the Wa-Sania tribes, 
British East Africa, a mother's only nutriment for several days 
after the birth of a child is honey with hot water. A boy, after he 
has been circumcised (usually at the age of 3 or 4) is permitted 
only to consume honey and water for a week. Among the Nandis 
some honey is placed on the tongue of a child before circumcision. 
Honey is often combined by them with the bark and leaves of 
certain trees and plants. Among the rural population of the old 
countries, especially among the Greeks, Italians, Hungarians and 
all the Slavic races, honey is a popular home remedy. Their laxa- 
tive medicines, likewise those for coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis 
and other pulmonary ailments, contain honey. For respiratory 
troubles honey is often mixed with anis, pepper, horseradish, 
ginger, mustard and garlic. A glassful of warm milk with a table- 
spoonful of honey is used for bronchitis and debilitated con- 
ditions. Goat's milk or buttermilk and honey is a favored and 
popular remedy for tuberculosis. Goat's milk is most nutritious 
and very digestible. It is nearest to human milk. There are more 
vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins in goat's milk than in any 
other milk. In the East, Far East, Africa and in most European 
countries goat's milk is extremely popular. Recently there have 
been considerable efforts made in the United States to popularize 
goat raising. 

The diuretic effect of honey which was well known in antiquity, 
is still employed in kidney and bladder involvements. In pyelitis 
(inflammation of the renal pelvis) honey increases the amount of 
urine and exerts a decided antiseptic effect. The patients quickly 
improve; the urine clears and loses its putrid odor. The laxative 
effect of honey in these cases is also of advantage. One of the 


author's correspondents (J. L. McD., of Marion, Indiana), wrote 
thus about the subject: "A bee-keeping friend of mine suffered 
from tuberculosis of the kidney and was given up by two doctors 
fifteen years ago. He got to eating honey and plenty of it and 
he is today as peppy as a youngster." Honey is an important in- 
gredient of worm-cures. The African tribes also mix their tobacco 
and their aphrodisiac remedies with honey. 

Among the so-called "civilized" communities we find some 
people who favor honey, especially for throat and bronchial ail- 
ments. During many years' professional contact with opera sing- 
ers, the writer has found that they frequently resorted to honey 
for the treatment of their throat affections. They consider it an 
excellent demulcent and expectorant. Three parts of honey and 
one part of compound tincture of benzoin is popular among sing- 
ers j so is an occasional gulp from a mixture of two ounces of 
honey, one ounce of lemon juice and an ounce of pure glycerin. 
Honey (125 gm.) and alum (25 gm.) added to one quart of 
water is a useful gargle. The mixture of honey and alum is 
highly valued for sore throat and ulcerations of the gums and 
mouth. Hot milk and honey make an excellent remedy for husky 

Another correspondent of the author (M. S. of Kansas City, 
Mo.) has written about the curative value of honey in pul- 
monary affection, as follows: "In 1925, I became ill and con- 
sulted several doctors, all of whom gave the verdict of active 
tuberculosis. After seven months, two doctors gave me up, and 
said that my only chance was to go West, which I could not afford 
to do. At a later date, they frankly informed me that I had only 
three months to live and insisted on sending me to Colorado. I 
was then living in Kansas City, Missouri, and had previously 
been engaged in cement and paving work. I managed to land a 
job in Nemaha County, Kansas, about 140 miles west of Kansas 
City. My work was to establish an apiary of one hundred colonies 
for a commercial orchard. I was to 'batch' in a room in the apple 
house, which had a cement floor. Often it took all my strength 
to carry a gallon bucket of water from the well, one hundred feet 


away. In studying bees, I had learned the value of honey in 
driving out and destroying all germs in the human body. I used 
honey regularly and I worked to the limit of my strength. Three 
years later, the same doctors examined me and found only a few 
spots on my lungs. They absolutely refused to believe that I was 
the same person. Today, I take my place as an average man. I 
take care of two hundred fifty colonies of bees and a farm of 
twenty-five acres of land. The only help I have is about one 
month during the honey harvest. I don't know whether the honey 
cured me, or it was the fact that I was too lazy to crawl into my 
coffin, but I believe the honey and possibly the raw diet were 
the major factors of my recovery." 

J. J. H., of Brownsville, Florida, reports that when his grand- 
mother was a young girl she was given up by her physicians as 
a hopeless consumptive. Someone prescribed a diet of honey and 
goat's milk, with the result that she lived to the age of eighty- 
eight and was free from illness during the rest of her lifetime. 

M. D. A., of Old Forge, New York, is certainly a great ad- 
mirer of honey. He writes: "Having kept bees and eaten honey 
for over thirty years, I can tell about my own experience and 
give also observations of other people who use honey exclusively 
for sweetening. I never have known a beekeeper who had any 
kind of kidney trouble. They all have a clear complexion, good 
eyesight and no lameness. Among my friends who eat honey 
and keep bees, there is no cancer or paralysis. My best remedy 
for a bee sting is to cover it with honey, even a deep burn will not 
scar if treated the same way. I have seen sour milk, whole wheat 
cracked for cereal, honey and butter do wonders in diet. I cured 
the cough of a great number of my friends, where other reme- 
dies failed, with this prescription: 

4 tablespoonfuls of honey 
1 teaspoonful of sulphur 

5 drops of pure turpentine 

Mix it, take half-teaspoonful two or three hours apart." 
The soporific effect of honey is par excellence. The French 


Voirnot advocated it for insomnia. Dr. Lorand (of Carlsbad) 
also recommends honey as a good hypnotic and reconstructive. 
D. Dumoulin, when eighty years old, commented, "Chaque soir, 
avant de me mettre au lit, je prends une cuiller a cafe de miel, 
soit pur, soit dans du lait chaud, et je dors comme a vingt ans." 
(Every night, before I go to bed I take a teaspoonful of honey, 
sometimes pure, other times in hot milk and I sleep like when 
twenty years old.) A tumblerful of hot water with one or two 
tablespoonfuls of ripe honey and the juice of half a lemon has 
been the author's favorite potion for nervous insomnia. This sim- 
ple and inexpensive home remedy has been greatly appreciated by 
his patients and most of them have assured him that it is more 

helpful than (an infinite number of patented drugs 

could equitably replace these dots). 

In digestive disturbances honey is of great value. Honey does 
not ferment in the stomach because, being an inverted sugar, it is 
easily absorbed and there is no danger of a bacterial invasion. 
The flavor of honey excites the appetite and helps digestion. The 
frofoma of the ancients, made of honey, was a popular appe- 
tizer. For anemics, dyspeptics, convalescents and the aged, honey 
is an excellent reconstructive and tonic. In malnutrition, no food 
or drug can equal it. The laxative value of honey, on account of 
its lubricating effect, is well known. Its fatty acid content stim- 
ulates peristalsis. In gastric catarrh, hyperacidity, gastric and duo- 
denal ulcers and gall bladder diseases honey is recommended by 
several eminent gastroenterologists. 

Dr. Schacht, of Wiesbaden, claims to have cured many hope- 
less cases of gastric and intestinal ulcers with honey and without 
operations. It is rather unusual that a physician of standing has 
the courage and conviction to praise honey. The beekeepers and 
their friends know that honey will cure gastric and intestinal 
ulcerations, this distressing, prevalent and most dangerous mal- 
ady, a precursor of cancer. But the news has not yet reached 99% 
of the medical profession. The remaining few physicians who 
know it, are afraid to suggest such an unscientific and plebeian 
remedy, for fear of being laughed at by their colleagues and 


scientifically inclined patients. You may read in almost every 
issue of apicultural papers the reports of correspondents regard- 
ing their experience with honey for gastric ulcers, after going 
through the medical mill for years without improvement, with- 
out even hope of ever getting cured. Then incidentally they meet 
a beekeeper or one of his converts and if they have courage and 
common sense (there are few) to heed the advice, they get well. 
It is disheartening for a physician to read such reports. For in- 
stance, a correspondent (A. L. T. of Omaha, Nebr.), writes in 
Gleanings in Bee Culture , February, 1931), "I have been a suf- 
ferer from ulcerated stomach for several years, part time in the 
hospital, part time in bed and nearly all the time in much pain. 
I noticed from the middle of September I was much better and 
gave no thought to the reason but kept up eating honey because 
I relished it. I had no attack since and it held good. . . ." It would 
fill a volume to assemble similar testimonials, praising particu- 
larly the curative value of honey in gastric and intestinal dis- 
orders, including ulcers. Father Kneipp, a great admirer of honey, 
remarked: "Smaller ulcers in the stomach are quickly contracted, 
broken and healed by it." 

Honey is a rapidly acting source of muscular energy and has 
great value as a restorative. The protoplasm craves sugar as 
does an individual. Muscles in action consume three and a half 
times as much glycogen as when at rest. A normal heart, accord- 
ing to Starling, uses glycogen at the rate of four milligrams per 
gram of heart per hour. The invigorating effect of honey was 
discussed under the heading, "Honey for Athletes and Soldiers." 
It is not surprising that many well-known physicians recommend 
honey for an ailing heart. Dr. Lorand in Old Age Deferred y and 
in Life Shortening Habits and Rejuvenation, expresses his faith 
in honey as a sine qua non in arteriosclerosis and weak heart. 
Dr. G. N. W. Thomas, of Edinburgh, Scotland, in an article in 
the Lancet remarks that "in heart weakness I have found honey to 
have a marked effect in reviving the heart action and keeping pa- 
tients alive. I had further evidence of this in a recent case of pneu- 
monia. The patient consumed two pounds of honey during the 


illness ; there was an early crisis with no subsequent rise of tem- 
perature and an exceptionally good pulse. I suggest that honey 
should be given for general physical repair and, above all, for 
heart failure." Sir Arbuthnot Lane also emphasized the value 
of honey as a heart and muscle stimulant, and as an excellent 
source of energy. There is no better food, he thought, to meet 
muscular fatigue and exhaustion. 

Carbohydrate and especially sugar metabolism has great im- 
portance. Energy is primarily the result of carbohydrate assimi- 
lation. Hyperglycemic individuals are, as a rule, more energetic 
and less prone to fatigue ; subglycemic people tire easily and are 
apathetic. Certain nervous types, though glycophile subjects, ex- 
haust their sugar reserve fast and wear out just as quickly. Lack 
of energy is not always due to laziness. 

In typhoid fever and pneumonia, where the digestive functions 
are badly crippled, honey is most beneficial. Why embarrass 
enfeebled digestions with foods which require chemical changes 
before their assimilation when we can administer a serviceable 
and pleasant food which is predigested? For the treatment of 
typhoid fever, honey diluted in water is the author's preferential 
food. It is an ideal substance, in this special instance, on account of 
its demulcent effect on the inflamed intestines, its rapid assimila- 
tion and its capability to supply food and energy without causing 
fermentation, which is so much feared in typhoid fever. Honey, a 
concentrated and predigested food, is absorbed orally 100% and 
per rectum 96%. For rectal feeding honey is exceptionally well 
adapted. Galen's honey and oil enema was highly valued in an- 
tiquity. While sugar favors worms, honey was considered as one 
of the best vermifuge remedies by all ancients and it is widely 
used for this purpose, even today, by primitive races. 

Medical textbooks pay only little attention to the real worth 
and merit of honey. The results which some physicians have de- 
rived from the use of honey, as a rule, have been incidental. 
Dr. C. H. English, Medical Director of the Lincoln National 
Life Insurance Co., vividly describes his own experience (Glean- 
ings in Bee Culture, 55:1927). About forty-one years ago the 


doctor practiced medicine among rural folk. He acquired two 
colonies of bees which soon increased and it was not long until 
he had more honey on hand than he and his family could use. 
Not wishing to sell honey, it occurred to him to distribute his 
surplus stock among patients. There were a sufficient number of 
cases which offered an excellent field to try out the nutrimental, 
medicinal and tonic effects of honey. In respiratory troubles, the 
doctor found that honey acted not only as a good expectorant 
but as a valuable heart tonic. In pneumonia, near the crisis, when 
honey was freely given, it had a marked effect. The benefits were 
so evident that the administration of honey became a routine 
practice with him. He found no other food or heart stimulant 
which had a more lasting effect. This practice he kept up for 
fifteen years with the most gratifying results. Occasionally in 
severe cases, when he ran short of honey, he noticed the differ- 
ence and when he succeeded again in procuring some the improve- 
ment was quite manifest. Dr. English also used honey success- 
fully in infant feeding. 

The blood reconstructive power of honey can be surmised from 
a recent report from Germany. According to this information 
Edmund Eckardt (thirty-five years old) a champion blood donor, 
whose only visible means of support is to supply blood for trans- 
fusions, just celebrated his jubilee. He has saved fifty lives in 
the last three years. When interviewed as to how he makes good 
his losses he described his diet. During daily breakfast he con- 
sumes honey j for luncheon he has fish and vegetables and drinks 
orange juice with his dinner. His main reliance is on honey and 
oranges, of which he eats thirty a day. An expert of the Blood 
Transfusion Betterment Association of New York, when inter- 
viewed on the subject, suggested that Eckhardt's faith in oranges 
is unjustified because what a blood donor needs is iron, and 
Eckardt in fact, "does not mention that any part of his diet con- 
tains iron." Another occasion where "dethroned" honey was 
utterly disregarded! Count Luckner, of World War fame, is 
an extremely moderate eater. He is about sixty-five years old 
and looks no more than forty. Luckner bends a silver half-dollar 


with two fingers and tears a Manhattan telephone directory into 
small pieces with greatest ease. The Count relates that his first 
food in the morning is a "goodly portion of honey." 

Many people, especially beekeepers, and a few physicians (this 
writer among them) claim that honey taken internally prevents 
and often cures arthritic and rheumatoid ailments. The peasants 
of Hungary even put a honey poultice over the big toe in gout 
and they say the pain disappears in half an hour. Such assertions 
have, of course, all the earmarks of unscientific broach. Still there 
are many who insist that honey has benefited them more than all 
the "scientific" vaccines. Vitamin C deficiency would explain an 
impaired circulation and recent researches (James F. Reinhart, 
Studies relating to Vitamin C deficiency in rheumatic fever and 
rheumatoid arthritis, Annals of Internal Medicine, December, 
1935), clearly prove that lack of vitamin C favors the develop- 
ment of infectious arthritis. Dr. Heermann of Kassel, Germany, 
suggests {Fortschritte der Medizin, Vol. 54, 1936) the use of 
honey for rheumatism, atrophy of muscles, nervous conditions, 
tuberculotic glands, etc., both internally and externally. He em- 
ployed honey with success for thirty-five years. Dr. Heermann 
thinks it is unnecessary to extract the venom of the bees to treat 
these conditions. Honey itself contains some venom because the 
bees use their stings not only for defense but also for the preser- 
vation of honey. 

Many beekeepers are of the opinion that, besides the admitted 
and generally recognized curative effects of the stings in rheu- 
matic ailments, honey also contributes its benefits in preventing 
and curing these diseases. As an illustration, I quote a letter 
from J. L. McD., of Marion, Indiana: "I began beekeeping be- 
cause I had rheumatism, and it has disappeared, but I consider 
it due more to the fact that I ate honey than to bee stings. Nearly 
four years ago, I had rheumatism in my knees. I finally went to 

Dr. K , of Marion, Indiana, for advice. He put me on a 

citrous fruit diet, allowing only honey. In a week, he allowed 
breakfast food sweetened with honey. It did the work, and I 
liked honey so well that I bought a few hives of bees to supply 


my family, and now — nearly four years later — I want everyone 
to know honey and to like it, as Nature's own health-sweet, full 
of pep and vitamins that God gave us, pure as snow. My grow- 
ing son is developing into a healthy, sturdy ten-year old since 
the use of honey, egg and milk drinks. My rheumatism never 

Honey, taken by itself and not mixed with other foods, was 
considered by the ancients an excellent remedy for obesity. Bee- 
keepers today, who know it from their own experience, will con- 
firm this allegation. The regimen, at a glance, sounds rather 
unscientific to a modern physician} nevertheless it has a deeper 
biochemical meaning than it appears to have. Fats and sugars are 
both carbon-containing and energy-providing foods which burn 
up by contact with oxygen and create energy. Sugars which con- 
tain more carbon elements and are more inflammable produce 
energy more quickly. Fats which contain less carbon and oxygen 
than sugars, are utilized slower because their purpose is only to 
supply reserve energy ; they require more oxygen and more 
draught to set them afire and are not meant for immediate use. 
If there is not enough sugar to keep the fires burning, the sys- 
tem will resort to its reserve fat. Accordingly when sugars, espe- 
cially honey, are ingested into the system they will cause a rapid 
combustion and the fats will burn with the aid of the draught 
produced by their "fire." If an organism is slow to burn up fat 
(as in obesity), it will be assisted by the rapidity of sugar meta- 
bolism. The process could be compared to setting slowly inflam- 
mable coal ablaze with the aid of straw, kindling wood or even 
oil. Of course, there is sufficient oxygen in carbohydrates to assist 
in the combustion of carbon elements even without an outside 
source of oxygen. 

Acknowledging some more medical information received from 
the laity, the writer's attention has been repeatedly called to the 
beneficial effect of honey on hay fever victims. There are many 
reports that the consumption of honey collected by bees from 
goldenrod and fireweed will cure hay fever superinduced by the 
selfsame pollen. Now comes Dr. George D. McGrew, of the 


Army Medical Corps of the William Beaumont General Hos- 
pital in El Paso, Texas, with a statement in an article published 
in the Military Surgeon that during the 1936 hay-fever season 
thirty-three hay-fever sufferers obtained partial or complete re- 
lief through the consumption of honey, produced in their vicinity. 
The brood cells contain a considerable amount of bee-bread 
(pollen) stored by the bees for their young and when this is 
orally administered it will produce a gradual immunity against 
the allergic symptoms caused by the same pollen. Dr. McGrew 
found particular relief for patients when they chewed the honey 
with the wax of the brood-cells. The hospital staff also made an 
alcoholic extract from pollen and administered it in from one 
to ten drop doses, according to the requirements of the patients. 

Old beekeepers will tell you that a glassful of hot water with 
a tablespoonful of honey and some lemon juice will cure influ- 
enza and also help the pocketbook. (We physicians should not 
begrudge the medical propensity of farmers. They seem to agree 
with Bernard Shaw's remark that every profession is a conspiracy 
against the laity, so they retaliate. And the time-honored prin- 
ciple, experience versus theory, upon which Napoleon so often 
commented, should also be taken into consideration. The Hun- 
garians have liberally consumed paprika for a thousand years 
and are convinced that it has contributed in a great measure to 
their health and temperament. After Professor Szent-Gyorgyi, 
the discoverer of Vitamin C, had tried unsuccessfully in Chicago 
to produce this vitamin from tons of liver, he returned very much 
disappointed to Hungary, where he accidentally found that red 
pepper is a rich source of Vitamin C.) 

Honey would have a wider and better use in modern medicine 
if comprehensive microchemical and physiological studies would 
be instituted to determine the types of honey which are best suited 
to particular cases. The properties and tendencies of honeys vary 
according to the chemical characteristics of the nectar and pollen 
of plants from which they were collected. Dr. C. A. Browne, 
Principal Chemist in charge of research, Bureau of Chemistry 
and Soils, U. S. Department of Agriculture, admits that the gross 


composition of honeys of various types have been accurately de- 
termined but that comparatively little has been done and much 
more remains to be done toward ascertaining the nature and quan- 
tities of less common substances that occur in honey. Nitrogenous 
compounds (proteins), though honey contains these in small 
amounts, still play a very important role in the utilization of 
honey. The same applies to amino acids, various colloidal sub- 
stances, to the mineral constituents and enzymes which honey 
contains. We have comparatively little definite knowledge about 
the so-called dextrins. The mineral content of honey considerably 
affects the degree of its acidity (pH). Dr. Browne thinks that 
more knowledge on the subject would be of great value in ear- 
marking the various types of honey, which would serve as a 
guide in choosing the most suitable types for particular use. 


Diabetes is a fundamental disorder of metabolism, primarily 
that of carbohydrates. It is due to a deficiency of the pancreas, 
a gland connected with the alimentary canal which, under the 
circumstances, does not produce sufficient insulin. It is a weak- 
ness or exhaustion of the gland. In diabetes the ingested carbo- 
hydrates, sugars and starches cannot be utilized, but are elim- 
inated in the urine. Part of the food turns into sugar and the 
glutton has to return to Nature his illegitimate gains. The vic- 
tim must famish in the midst of plenty. It is really a revenge of 
Nature. Lean people rarely acquire diabetes. In obese subjects 
the excess sugar and starch which they consume does not suffi- 
ciently oxidize, but forms fat which is already a disintegration 
of the organism. 

A word should be said regarding the cause of diabetes. Most 
medical textbooks carefully avoid even mentioning the subject. 
Others acknowledge that the cause of diabetes is unknown. The 
author's personal comprehension is that the abuse of artificial 
sugar and salt are mainly to be blamed for it by producing an 
inflammation or sclerosis of the pancreas. The influence of white 


sugar already has been discussed. With regard to salt, he would 
set forth that animal diabetes is confined to horses, cattle and 
dogs. Salt is given to horses (occasionally also sugar) and to cattle, 
mixed in their fodder, and dogs obtain it in our waste food. 

R. Arima of Tokyo, Japan, Director of the Arima Institute, 
experimented on himself. He had never had any diabetic ail- 
ment. In 1934, at the age of fifty-three he purposely consumed 
an excess of salt with the result that he suffered from excessive 
urine secretion, followed by diabetes. He repeated the experi- 
ment twice with the same result. He thought that diabetes could 
be easily cured by the limited use of, or total abstinence from 
salt. Arima quotes a noted authority who made the statement 
that civilized man is "pickled" in salt. In his opinion even harden- 
ing of the arteries and premature senility is caused by salt. A 
friend of the late John D. Rockefeller related to this author that 
during a dinner the old gentleman warned him never to use salt 
because the substance is injurious to health. As Mr. Rockefeller 
almost reached the class of centenarians his admonition is worthy 
of consideration. 

Vegetarians and herbivorous animals crave salt because they 
require it. Fruits, vegetables and plants, in general, contain ample 
other minerals but are insufficient in sodium chloride. Meat eat- 
ers can get along without salt. Many teachers of nutrition are 
against the use of salt. They claim that an excess of it will pro- 
duce rigidity and inactivity. The brain, heart, arteries, muscles, 
salivary glands, eyes and sex organs lose their elasticity, become 
indurated and finally ossified. Lime, which commercial sugars 
contain, has a similar effect. When the biological chemists will 
use more commonsense than microscopes they will also establish 
the fact that refined sugars contribute more to the prevalence 
of arthritis than has so far been surmised. 

It is much beyond the scope of this review to enumerate the 
ill effects of diabetes. One of the cardinal troubles is lack of 
glycogen (animal starch) which is normally deposited in the 
muscles, of course, the heart, the blood and mainly in the liver 
(the savings bank of glucose), where it is stored and later utilized 


as the most important energy-producing substance of the organ- 
ism. Normal blood contains about 0.10% glucose. 

If a diabetic organism is unable to oxidize glucose, it will have 
vital effect also on other processes of metabolism, mainly on the 
metabolism of fat. The burning of carbohydrates, especially glu- 
cose, is indispensable for the burning of fat. Fats burn in the 
flame of carbohydrates. Imperfect oxidation of fats produces the 
formation of unoxidized fatty acids, commonly called acetone 
bodies, which will disturb the acid-base equilibrium of the sys- 
tem and finally will deplete the entire alkali reserve of the body. 

The importance of sugar metabolism on the spinal column and 
brain is evident. The blood of the veins which leaves the brain 
contains less sugar and more acids than the blood of the arteries 
which centers upon it. Sugar assimilation has an important func- 
tion in the chemical activities of brain cells. The successful thera- 
peutic application of insulin in various mental disorders clearly 
demonstrates this. The lack of sugar assimilation of a diabetic, 
the accompanying depression, comatose states, even fatal ending, 
prove the vital importance of sugar metabolism on the activities 
of the brain cells. 

The administration of insulin, a pancreatic hormon, corrects 
the pathological condition in diabetes and converts the carbohy- 
drates into glycogen, which a diabetic constitution is unable to 
perform. Insulin is an adjunct in the treatment of diabetes but 
by no means a cure. The use of insulin is a burdensome procedure. 
The patient must inject insulin about half an hour before each 
meal to effectuate this function. Its dosage must first be deter- 
mined because the units of insulin must correspond with the sub- 
sequent meal, with the patient's sugar tolerance, etc. The patient's 
individual response and also the amount of carbohydrates must 
be rigorously controlled and frequently modified. It is a tedious 
performance involving considerable time and expense, besides 
anxiety, and a careful application of complex chemistry and 

Any substance which could be utilized in mild diabetic cases 
to convert carbohydrates, by oral administration, into glycogen 


would be invaluable and far exceed in usefulness the dominant 
but otherwise beneficial insulin. The relinquishment of the cum- 
bersome self -administered hypodermic injections alone would be 
of inestimable service. 

Whether diabetics could utilize honey by converting it into 
glycogen to supply a much-needed source of energy for their de- 
pleted systems is an issue worth a thorough and unbiased investi- 
gation. There are many indications that there is more than a pos- 
sibility of using honey for these sufferers. 

Honey and refined sugars greatly differ not only in chemical 
characteristics but also in physiological effects. The circumstance 
alone that honey contains invert sugars and saves the debilitated 
alimentary organs the additional labor of inverting commercial 
sugars, is an important factor and of considerable advantage. 

In relationship to diabetes there are also other distinctly hetero- 
genous features in sugar and honey. If insulin were administered 
to a diabetic patient before a meal and the insulin units were in 
excess of the consequently consumed carbohydrates, or there was 
no food given at all, a severe, often disastrous insulin-shock 
would supervene. The reason for this occurrence is that the in- 
sulin will digest and consume the already scanty sugar reserve of 
the organism and an undersupply of blood-sugar (subglycemia) 
is just as dangerous as an oversupply (hyperglycemia). The only 
way to correct such a contingency is to administer a sufficient 
amount of glucose to compensate the action of excess insulin. 

Cases have been reported where a liberal amount of honey was 
administered to avert an insulin shock due to subglycemia, but 
it was of no benefit; on the other hand, a subsequent adminis- 
tration of glucose rapidly neutralized the harmful effects of in- 
sulin. The slow absorption of levulose and the delay of trans- 
forming it in the system into glucose would account for the 
inefficiency. This plainly proves that a fundamental chemical and 
physiological contrast exists between ordinary sugar and honey. 
There is much the same disparity between glucose and levulose, 
the latter an important component of honey. The symptoms of 
subglycemia which follow the complete removal of the liver in 


animals are promptly dispelled by the administration of glucose, 
while levulose is ineffective. It is noteworthy that levulose is 
rarely, if ever, found in the blood. 

Diabetic patients who have had to endure for endless years the 
self-inflicted injections of insulin are often exposed to insulin- 
shock, which is really subglycemic reaction. Sometimes it is im- 
possible to give an adequate reason for this dangerous and occa- 
sionally fatal occurrence. There are many causes which may 
produce such a state and diabetics ought to be well instructed in 
their appreciation. This is a difficult task for a layman, often 
enough even for an intelligent physician. The most common 
causes which are responsible for such a state are, as a rule, errors 
in administering the proper amount of insulin, usually too large 
a dose; a delay in eating an appropriate meal; that is, a poor ad- 
justment of diet or loss of part of the food by vomiting, diarrhea 
or gastric obstruction; violent exercise in combination with insulin, 
etc. Diabetics often use the same site for injections. This delays 
or prevents absorption and requires an increase of insulin, which 
additional dose, if injected into a new site, will absorb rapidly, 
lower the blood-sugar level and produce a shock. 

Many instances have been reported where honey was well 
tolerated by diabetics and supplied them with required energy. 
In 1933, after the author had published a questionnaire to bee- 
keepers through the courtesy of apicultural journals, to obtain 
information about the effects of bee stings, especially about their 
remedial value in rheumatic and arthritic conditions, many cor- 
respondents volunteered illuminating reports about the medicinal 
value of honey. Some of these communications state that honey 
has been used by them in hopeless diabetic conditions with the 
best success and resulted in cures. Some reports are very instruc- 
tive. Mr. G. J., of Kaukauna, Wisconsin, writes, "I am a railroad 
engineer by trade, but I became a diabetes victim and I had to re- 
sign my job because I fell away to nothing. The doctors gave me 
up and proclaimed that there was no hope for me. Then I made 
up my mind to take up a diet that I asked for but the doctors 
refused and here it is: 


Spinach, raw or cooked, mostly raw. 

Lettuce, sweetened with honey and lime juice. 

Raw carrots, washed, brushed and grated, sweetened 

with honey to taste. 
Raw cabbage salad with lime juice and honey. 
Ripe tomatoes, raw or canned, sweetened with honey. 
Whole wheat bread. 

"Began this diet in 1922 and at the end of 1923 the doctors 
could not find a trace of sugar, though several of them have 
tested me to satisfy their curiosity. I am now past 6$, eat any- 
thing on the table, and will do as much work as any man of my 
age, if not more, after going through two railroad wrecks and 
being picked up twice for dead. Whisky was not the cause of 
the wrecks, for I do not touch the cursed stuff." 

Mr. L. M. D. of Edmeston, New York, writes that he not 
only cured many cases of rheumatism with bee stings but also 
supplies a list of people who were victims of diabetes. After 
they indulged in honey they recovered. "Mr. and Mrs. F. D. 
both suffered from diabetes, doctoring with various physicians 
for a long time without improving. Finally they went on a diet 
consisting of large amounts of honey and plenty of fruit, and 
today both are alright." 

Such disclosures (call them intrusions), even though they origi- 
nate from the laity, ought to arouse the attention of the vener- 
able medical fraternity. 

To justify the supposition that honey can be given to diabetics, 
there are also statements from members of the medical profes- 
sion. Dr. F. C. Ameiss advocated tupelo honey for diabetics, as 
having a minimum percentage of dextrose and a maximum of 
levulose. (Tupelo is a tree of the dogwood family.) Dr. Desi- 
derius de Beszedits, of Coyuca de Catalan, Guerrero, Mexico, 
in an article in the Medical World, October, 1934, "Treat- 
ment of Diabetes," wrote the following: "Just one more thing 
to conclude: the employing of honey-diet in the treatment of 
diabetes may look antiscientific, antimedical, even rather silly 


to the theoretical minded, uninitiated or to a superficial observer. 
Just at this writing, my bee flocks (a cross between the lazy native 
Indian wasp-like bee and the large, ever-busy Hungarian — also 
called Italian — bee, I imported from Europe) are busy gather- 
ing honey from a plant now in bloom here, called retama or 
tecoma mollis, retania or tronadora. We make tincture and fluid 
extract of this plant (leaves and roots), and I give it to diabetic 
patients in drop doses in manzanilla tea when I cannot obtain the 
leaves for the tea that I use in preference. The tea, the tincture 
and the fluid extract of this plant have a decidedly and markedly 
antiglycosuric and eupeptic quality and its antipolyuric effect is 
notably rapid. Now we all know that the bee sucks the quintes- 
sence of the flower juice, adds something of her own to it (saliva 
or some other substance) and so manufactures it into honey. Each 
country has a large number of provenly medicinal plants, and 
the bees gather their honey from such flowers. Making our deduc- 
tions, it is not difficult to understand why, on this basis, honey 
fits into the curative diet for diabetes. Most likely it is just the 
proper food for the depleted hungry glands." (The belief that 
the curative properties of certain plants are transmitted by the 
bees from the blooms into the honey they produce, is rather wide- 
spread. Menelik, the great King of the Ethiopians, according to 
Dr. Theodorows {Lancet, 1897) grew Coso trees under which 
he placed the hives. The Coso honey which the bees gathered 
from the blooms was considered an excellent worm remedy. A 
tablespoonful of the honey in water was supposed to be sufficient 
to produce results. The natives of India drop lotus honey into the 
eyes to cure cataracts. The belief in the anti-tuberculotic effect 
of Eucalyptus honey is world-wide.) 

Dr. A. Y. Davidov of Russia has found honey a good substi- 
tute for sugar and other sweet foodstuffs in diabetes. Dr. Davidov 
believes that honey prevents acetonemia and diminishes the 
amount of sugar in the urine in spite of the fact that honey con- 
tains 75% sugar. One of his patients used one pound of honey 
in ten days without an increase of the sugar rate in the urine. 
When the use of honey was stopped for a while the sugar per- 


centage in the urine rose and the patient was again given four 
teaspoonfuls of honey daily, after which the sugar rate again 
dropped. Dr. Davidov reported six more instances where honey 
had a beneficial effect in diabetes. 

Dr. L. R. Emerick of Eaton, Ohio, a specialist in diabetes, 
used honey in the diet of more than 250 diabetic patients with 
success. The fame of the late Dr. R. J. Goss of Middlebury, Ver- 
mont, was proclaimed throughout the State for helping diabetics 
on a honey diet. A neighbor of his related that he has seen many 
patients arrive for treatments weak and emaciated but they soon 
gained in weight, looked splendid and were able to walk for 

(The author would earnestly caution diabetics not to use honey 
without the advice and strict control of their physicians.) 

Professor A. Szent-Gyorgyi, the discoverer of Vitamin C, pub- 
lished interesting results which he obtained by peroral adminis- 
tration of succinic acid in the treatment of acidosis of diabetics 
{Orvosi Hetilap. Budapest, No. 24, June 12, 1937). These, if 
confirmed, may explain the beneficial effects of various acids, 
among others lactic, succinic, citric, malic acid, etc., which honey 
contains. The formation of dangerous acetone in diabetes is pos- 
sibly corrected through the aid of these acids. 


Magic healing power was attributed to heather, this modest 
little wild flower of the Scottish Highlands, so dear to the heart 
of all Scotsmen. The legendary lore and lay connected with this 
favorite mountain bloom, the emblem of solitude, was shared 
by the honey which the bees extracted from it. Heather desig- 
nates a flower of the heath (in German, heide) and its connection 
with the word heathen, pagan (in German, heide also means 
pagan) reflects a quaint superstition. Both in Scotland and in 
Germany a belief existed that the heather grew from the blood 
of a heathen. In Scotland, on Halloween, the witches are sup- 
posed to ride on heather brooms. 


The heather flower is purplish, suggesting the color of blood. 
White heather is extremely rare and it is supposed to bring good 
luck, not unlike a four-leaf clover. Queen Victoria mentioned in 
a letter that when she was a young bride and was driving fast 
to Balmoral Castle, her coachman suddenly jumped off the car- 
riage to pick a white heather for which "he had an extraordinary 
eye to find," and remarked that "a Highlander would never pass 
one without picking it, because it is considered to bring one good 

The nectar which heather blooms contain is rich in minerals. 
The Picts had the secret of making excellent ale from the "tender 
tops of the twigs." Heather ale was called heather-crop, mean- 
ing the top of the plant. Robert Louis Stevenson refers to heather 
ale in A Galloway Legend: 

From the bonny bells of heather 

They brewed a drink lang-syne, 
Was sweeter far than honey, 

Was stronger far than wine. 
They brewed it and they drank it, 

And lay in blessed swound 
For days and days together 

In their dwellings underground. 

Leyden also refers to it in The Heather: 

For once thy mantling juice was seen to laugh 
In pearly cups, which monarchs loved to quaff; 

Heather ale was much used among the Picts ; but when that 
nation was extirpated by the Scots the secret of making it perished 
with them. 

We know the legend relating how anxious were the Scots to 
learn the secret of the strength -giving heather ale. When the 
last two living members of the Picts, father and son, were 
brought before Kenneth the Conqueror, he offered them their 
life on condition that they reveal the method of heath-liquor 


making. After they refused Kenneth ordered the son to be killed. 
The father was still obdurate but his life was spared and he was 
imprisoned. He lived much beyond the limits of mortal exist- 
ence but became blind and bed-ridden. Once he overheard some 
young men boasting of their strength. He felt their wrists, re- 
marking that they were not feeble but their vigor could not be 
compared to men who drank heather ale. He asked for an iron 
bar and broke it with his hands. It was an old Scotch saying that 
mead-drinkers have as much strength as meat-eaters. 

The medicinal properties of heather had a wide repute in 
antiquity. Parkinson in his Theatrum Botanicum, 1640 a.d., 
remarks: "It hath a digesting quality, resolving the malignity of 
humors, by transpiration or sweating ; which a decoction of the 
flowers being drunke, doth perform, and thereby giveth much 
ease to the paines within the body, and expelleth the worms 
therein also; the leaves and flowers made into a decoction is good 
against the stings or bitings of serpents and other venomous crea- 
tures ; and the same being drunke warm, for thirty days to- 
gether, morning and evening, doth absolutely breake the stone 
and drive it forth; the same, also, or the destilled water of the 
whole plant, being drunke easeth the chollicke; the said water 
or the juyce of the herbe dropped into the eyes helpeth the weak- 
nesse of the sight." 

A decoction of heather "with faire water to be drunken warm 
both morning and evening in the quantity of five ounces three 
hours before meat, against the stone in the bladder; but at last 
the patient must enter into a bath made of the decoction and 
whiles he is in the said bath, he must sit upon some of the heather 
that made the foresaid bath. By the use of bath, dyet and de- 
coction hee has knowne many to be holpen, so that the stone has 
come from them in very small pieces." Dioscorides' highly- 
praised Erica plant was undoubtedly heather. 

The same curative power which was imputed to the plant was 
also attributed to heather honey. Rev. Hugh Macmillan re- 
marked that "Mount Hybla itself could not boast of more luscious 
honey than the liquid amber which the bees gathered from the 


heather-bells." The Scotch thought that heather honey had a 
"grousey" taste. 

Heather honey has world-wide repute as a specific remedy for 
many ailments. It is in great demand in foreign countries and is 
sold at a premium. Dr. Barton, during his stay in Edinburgh, 
noticed the distinct soporific effect of heath-honey. It is often 
so thick that it can not be readily separated from the combs by 
centrifugal force unless kept in a warm place for several days 
before extracting. 

Pure heather (ling) honey does not granulate unless 10 per 
cent of pollen grains of other plants are present. (But 5 per cent 
of charlock might start granulation.) It is of a jelly consistency 
with a multitude of tiny air bubbles which give a characteristic 
sparkle. If the honey is heated these bubbles rise to the surface 
and their absence at once reduces the merit of the honey. In 
common parlance, pure heather honey does not imply absolute 
purity. If there is 20 per cent of other pollen present, it would 
still be reckoned good heather honey ; and even if it had up- 
wards of 40 per cent of foreign pollen grains, that honey might, 
by flavor, aroma and consistency, pass anywhere as good heather 
honey. Bell heather (Erica) does granulate, and it is to be classed 
with other dark honeys ; for it has not the characteristic color, 
sparkle, consistency, astringency, flavor, and pollen of the gen- 
uine heather honey (John Beveridge, President of the Scottish 
Beekeepers' Association). 


The cultivation of Eucalyptus trees in malaria-infested regions 
proved to be instrumental in eradicating this dreadful disease. 
In certain parts of Australia, malaria entirely disappeared after 
these fast growing fever-trees had been planted. Important medic- 
inal values were always attributed to the sap of these trees. Their 
blooms are rich in pollen and nectar. 

The Trappist monastery of Tre Fontane, near Rome, was 
built by the monks on soil which was infested with malaria. (The 


name originated from the legend which relates that when St. 
Paul was decapitated there by a powerful blow, his head rolled 
along with great force and from three places, where it touched 
the ground, wells issued.) After the monks had planted forests 
of Eucalyptus trees, the region became habitable. The Trappist 
monks conduct extensive apiaries there with two honey harvests, 
in May and in October. Some hives produce yearly as much as 
120 pounds of honey (H. Reepen). On account of the consider- 
able demand, Eucalyptus honey is high-priced and it affords a 
fair income to the priests. 

Eucalyptus honey is dark in color, with a rather unpleasant 
taste and a strong aromatic odor. Australia supplies the largest 
part of the demand. In Germany they pay three to four marks 
a pound for such imported honeys. Dr. Ullersberger of Strass- 
burg thought that genuine Eucalyptus honey is an unparalleled 
substance ; it is strengthening, blood-forming, blood-purifying, 
nourishing, and besides, produces appetite. He advised adding, on 
account of its reconstructive power, one to three tablespoonfuls 
to any diet. ' 

The Trappist Liqueur de Tre Fontane is also popular. The 
monks prepare the extract, with the aid of the most modern dis- 
tilling apparatus, from the leaves of the Eucalyptus trees. 


HONEY has a distinct bactericidal power which is mainly 
due to its hygroscopic property. All living organisms re- 
quire a certain amount of moisture to maintain their lives. When 
bacteria come in contact with honey they are deprived of the vital 
moisture and perish. The acid reaction of honey also renders it an 
unfavorable medium for the bacteria to grow in. Most micro- 
organisms which affect the human body are destroyed in honey. 

Honey applied to ulcerated surfaces has a unique function. Soon 
after its application a profuse and intense centrifugal flow of 
lymph is noticeable and the entire torpid surface of the wound 
becomes soaked in fluid. This leucocytic lymph collection which 
honey produces has not only a bactericidal power but the rinsing 
function of the free-flowing liquid will greatly contribute to the 
cleansing of the wounds and will stimulate and promote granula- 
tion and healing. The ancient Greeks often refer to "epomphalia", 
a navel ointment made from honey for the newborn. Old mead, 
which is almost as extinct today as the dodo, was also used as an 
antiseptic lotion. 

The external application of honey has an age-old history. The 
ancient Egyptians used it as a surgical dressing. The Papyrus 
Ebers recommended that wounds be covered for four days with 
linen dipped in honey and incense. They believed that cataracts 
yielded to treatments with honey. Honey dropped into the eyes 
was supposed to have cured inflammations and other ailments of 
the eyelids. To quote the amusing report of Vigerius: "I have 
cured a Horse stone blind with Honey and Salt and a little crock 
of a pot mixed. In less than three daies, it hath eaten off a tough 



filme, and the Horse never complained after." In the July, 1937 
issue of the American Bee Journal (page 350) "A Subscriber" 
from New York State writes as follows: "I had a horse going- 
blind with a white film over his eye which seemed to hurt. His 
eye was shut and watered. I dipped white honey into his eye with 
a feather for several nights. In a day or so the film was gone and 
the eye looked bright and good." 

The Chinese and Hindus cover the entire bodies of their small- 
pox patients with honey to hasten the termination of the disease 
and also to prevent the formation of scars. Galen thought that 
"Hony warmes and cleares Wounds and Ulcers, attenuates and 
discusseth excrescencies in any part of the body." The Talmud 
recommended honey for ulcerated wounds, especially for exten- 
sive sores of animals. Ceromel, made with one part of wax and 
four parts of honey, is popular in the tropics for ulcers because it 
never becomes rancid. 

During the Middle Ages honey was extensively used in the 
form of ointments and plasters for boils, wounds, burns and ulcers, 
plain or mixed with other ingredients. Charles Butler thought 
that honey "will knit together hollow and crooked ulcers and 
likewise close other disjoyned flesh." He highly praised the 
Unguentum Aegyftiacum which was made by boiling honey, 
vinegar and wintergreen. This plaster, according to Butler, would 
"open, clean, dry and digest all inflammations and resist putre- 
faction." Rectal suppositories contained honey and wax. Galen's 
honey and oil enema was popular for centuries. 

Richard Remnant {The History of Bees, London, 1637) had 
implicit faith in "admirable baths made of honey which are excel- 
lent for Aches and strong Itches." A friend of his had "a foul itch 
that he was like a Leper." He cured him in the following manner: 
He used an empty Wine cask, called a Pipe, and "took out one 
head" and made a liquor of water and honey, making it pretty 
strong with honey and "heated it as hot as he could endure to 
stand in it," and poured it into the Pipe and "caused him to stand 
in it up to his neck a pretty while." This he did "three days, one 
after another, and he recovered as clear as ever." He had a like 


experience with "divers Aches." "If it be renewed every day with 
a little honey, it will be better." 

The rural populations of the European continent, especially 
that of the Slavic countries, used honey for all kinds of wounds 
and inflammations. "Honey ointment", consisting of equal por- 
tions of honey and white flour, well mixed with a little water, had 
a wide usage. A good ointment should be more solidified than too 
liquid. Honey and burnt alum was another popular combination. 
In croupous diphtheria it was the accepted method of mothers to 
grip with their fingers a chunk of honey and vigorously rub, as 
far as they could reach, the throat and air passages of the patients. 
A honey poultice was also applied around the neck. Several drops 
of warm honey in the ear was considered an excellent remedy for 
pain, inflammation and ringing of the ear. Galen remarked: 
"Hony infused warme by itself wonderfully helps exulcerated 
ears, especially if they cast forth ill flavours, as also their singings 
and inflammations." Marcellus Empyricus suggested: "Honey, 
Butter and Oyle of Roses, of each a like quantity, warme, helps 
the paine of the ears, dulness of the sight and the white spots in 
the eyes." 

The writer learned through personal communication that honey 
is still used for trachoma in the form of eyedrops. A Canadian 
mother related to him that two of her daughters contracted sore 
eyes while attending school, where there was an epidemic at the 
time. They were cured in two or three days by dropping honey 
into their eyes. It took two and three weeks for the other children 
in the school to get rid of the same trouble. Cataracts of the eyes 
were reported to have been cured by the same method, drop- 
ping honey into the eyes three times daily. 

Our good friend, the famous globe-trotter Dr. W. E. Aughin- 
baugh, described an operation he witnessed in Panama, during the 
construction of the canal. A native Indian surgeon of considerable 
repute performed a disarticulation of the hip joint. He smoked 
cigarettes incessantly during the operation, laid them down occa- 
sionally, picking them up again with his bloody fingers. After the 
stump was sutured, the surgeon took from a large pail several 


handfuls of honey, which he smeared over the wound, covering it 
subsequently with gauze. He assured Dr. Aughinbaugh that he 
had never had an infection when he applied a layer of honey over 
the wound. Dr. Aughinbaugh has seen the natives of the Amazon 
region "suture" extensive injuries by letting beetles unite the 
margins of wounds with their robust mandibles. After the heads 
of the insects were severed, the mandibles remained closed and 
the wounds were covered with honey mixed with liquid wax. The 
results were excellent. 

It is singular that, though honey was used for thousands of 
years for treatment of wounds and skin troubles, our modern 
medical literature ignores the subject. Lately, it seems, honey is 
gradually regaining its age-old repute and lost popularity. Dr. 
Zaiss, of Heidelberg, considers honey in the treatment of wounds 
superior to all other ointments. He has treated several thousand 
cases of severe infections with honey and could not report a single 
failure. Dr. Zaiss prefers honey even to tincture of iodine. He 
dresses the wounds with strips of gauze dipped in honey, and 
finds the wounds perfectly clean in 24 hours. The sloughs, even 
deep ones, usually adhere to the dressing material. Dr. Zaiss states 
that the application causes, at first, a transient smarting but the 
pain is soon relieved and a cooling sensation supervenes. The 
healing is remarkably rapid. He suggests a daily change of 

The Germans were always firm believers in the curative power 
of honey, both internally and externally, as a surgical dressing. It 
is interesting that honey is now combined in Germany with an- 
other old popular remedy 5 namely, cod-liver oil. Pliny highly 
praised cod-liver oil as a wound dressing (Hist. Nat. 31:27). 
The Eskimos, Laplanders and the natives of Greenland use cod- 
liver oil even these days for the dressing of wounds. German 
surgeons, Zaiss, Sack, Lucke, Buchheister, Lohr, Gundel, Blatt- 
ner and others, published recently in the medical journals miracu- 
lous results which they obtained through the use of a honey-cod- 
liver oil ointment called Desitin-Honey salve. Infected wounds, 
ulcerations, burns, fistulas, boils, carbuncles, felons, etc., are 


reported to heal in the shortest time. The ointment is supposed to 
check inflammation, stimulate granulation and remove deep 
necrotic tissues. Subjectively the ointment is very well tolerated 
because it alleviates pain and eases tension. The change of dress- 
ings is not painful because in twenty-four hours the wound is 
soaked in a rich exudate of lymph which prevents adherence of 
the dressing material to the wound and is easily removed. The 
odor of the ointment is rather pleasant, without a corrigent. It is 
difficult to say whether the honey or the cod-liver oil is the more 
helpful ingredient but it seems that it is a fortunate combination. 
The surgeons advise that, though its function is not scientifically 
proven and therefore justified, these facts should not interfere 
with its use. In skin diseases, even in psoriasis, the results obtained 
were excellent. For frostbites on ears, fingers and toes there is 
nothing which will take out sooner the frost and swelling than 
when these parts are wrapped in honey. Verrucae (warts) were 
reported to have been removed by the overnight application of a 
honey poultice. 

Recently Dr. Charles Brunnich, a surgeon of Switzerland, 
joined the ranks of those who advocate honey for surgical dress- 
ings, especially for contused and badly slashed septic wounds. He 
quotes the case of a man whose finger was smashed in a grinding 
machine. The bone of the terminal phalanx of the finger was 
broken and hung on a skin flap. After wrapping the extremity in 
honey the finger grew on and rapidly healed. Another man had, 
in succession, two large carbuncles on the back. While the first 
carbuncle was operated on by a surgeon and left a deep ugly scar, 
the second was treated only with honey. The cores rapidly elimi- 
nated and the wound left only an insignificant scar. 

In the "Alfenl'dndische Bienenzeitung" (February, 1935) we 
find the following report from a man: "In the winter of 1933 I 
heated a boiler of about thirty-five gallons of water. When I 
opened the cover, it flew with great force against the ceiling. The 
vapor and hot water poured forth over my unprotected head, 
over my hands and feet. Some minutes afterward I had violent 
pains and I believe I would have gone mad if my wife and my 


daughter had not helped me immediately. They took large pieces 
of linen, daubed them thickly with honey and put them on my 
head, neck, hands and feet. Almost instantly the pain ceased. I 
slept well all night and did not lose a single hair on my head. 
When the physician came he shook his head and said: 'How can 
such a thing be possible?'" 


". . . Valhall's blushing maids round-proffer 
the Mead-Horns, rich with foam of gold, . . ." 

Frithiof's Saga 

HONEY and water, called hydromel, is one of the oldest 
drinks known. It was later called mead, meth, or 

There are three distinct kinds of mead, the simple, the com- 
pound and the vinous. Simple mead is made of water and honey 
which does not undergo fermentation. It is made by boiling about 
three parts of water to one part of honey ; the honey may be 
increased or diminished according to taste. The boiling is done 
over a slow fire until one third has evaporated, then the remainder 
is skimmed and put into a cask, until the cask is full. In three or 
four days it will be fit for use. Simple mead is a favorite drink of 
the Mohammedans who are forbidden alcoholic beverages. 

Compound mead is made in the following manner: While the 
simple mead is boiling, some raisins, cut in two, are cooked sepa- 
rately, allowing one-half pound of raisins to six pounds of honey. 
During the time while the boiling mead is diminishing, the lique- 
fied raisins are added through a coarse linen filter and the mixture 
is boiled together for a short time; a toasted crust of bread, steeped 
in beer, is then put into it and after the scum, which forms afresh, 
has been removed the liquid is soon taken off the fire and allowed 
to settle. After it has been poured into a barrel (new barrels must 
be rinsed with brandy), an ounce of salt of tartar, dissolved in a 
glass of brandy is added. Kept in a warm room or exposed to the 
sun, with the barrel open, it will commence to ferment. Some 

MEAD 123 

pieces of lemon peel, a few drops of essence of cinnamon and some 
syrup of gooseberries, cherries, strawberries and aromatic flowers 
may be mixed with the concoction to suit individual taste. The 
froth must always be replaced with some of the remaining stock 
and the barrel kept continually filled. Compound mead ferments 
a considerable time, usually about two months. After the fermen- 
tation has ceased, the bung-hole is closed. The longer the mead 
is aged the better and more potent will it be. After several years 
in a cask it may be put, with the addition of a lump of sugar, into 
bottles which then must be well corked. 

For the preparation of Vinous mead there are more diversified 
instructions, rules and procedures than for all other alcoholic 
liquors combined. Every nation, every class and age has had a 
different method of mead-making. The component parts, the 
technic and innumerable other considerations, had to be carefully 
bethought to produce an excellent mead. One Greek mead con- 
tained thirty-six ingredients and was called "true nectar." The 
ancients depended even on the constellations of stars to select the 
best time for preparing this favorite drink. The fermentation 
period of mead was of such vital importance with some races that 
during that time sexual abstinence had to be observed, otherwise 
it was believed the mead would spoil. The number of ingredients 
which were selected is simply amazing. Thyme, ginger, nutmeg, 
cinnamon, cloves, pepper, sesame flour, sweet marjoram, rose- 
mary, even whites of eggs, were added. In later centuries whisky, 
brandy and gin were used to strengthen and flavor it. Even the 
water was of consequence. Pliny, for instance, advised (Libr. 
XIV. ch. 20) in making hydromel the use of rain water which had 
to be at least five years old.* The thalassiomel of the Greeks was 
prepared with sea-water. 

The pervading principle in the innumerable orthodox proced- 
ures of mead making was to determine first the correct proportion 
of honey, water and other ingredients ; the period of time and the 
slowness of boiling ; the vessel (copper, glass or earthenware); 
the proper scumming of the froth; the time and manner of fer- 

* Tickner Edwardes, even today, makes his mead with rain water. 


mentation and stirring ; and finally how long to let it stand until 
it had aged enough and was fit to drink (Saxon quality). 

Dr. Bevan's recipe for making mead was a typical modus 
operandi: "Dissolve an ounce of cream of tartar in five gallons of 
boiling water, pour the solution off clear upon twenty pounds of 
fine honey, boil them together, and remove the scum as it rises. 
Towards the end of the boiling add an ounce of fine hops; about 
ten minutes afterwards put the liquor into a tub to cool. When 
reduced to a temperature of 70 or 80° Fahrenheit, according to 
the season, add a slice of toasted bread smeared over with a little 
yeast, the less the better because yeast invariably spoils the -flavor 
of wines. If there is a sufficiency of extractive matter among the 
ingredients employed, yeast should not be introduced; nor if it is 
fermented in wooden vessels. The liquors should now stand in a 
warm room, and be stirred occasionally. As soon as it begins to 
carry a bead it should be tunned and the cask filled up from time 
to time from the reserve, till the fermentation has subsided. It 
should now be bunged down, leaving open a small peghole; in a 
few days this may also be closed and in about twelve months the 
wine will be fit to bottle." 

The invert sugars, dextrose and levulose, which honeys con- 
tain, readily produce alcohol by fermentation. Saccharose (su- 
crose), the main component of cane-sugar, must first be inverted 
before it ferments. 

The celestial nectar, the drink of the gods, was really fermented 
hydromel, that is, honey-wine, which was only later called mead 
or meth. Mead is often mentioned in the Bible and in the sacred 
books of India. Abraham a Santa Clara called the bees (Judas 
IV. 14) the "little mead-brewers." The wide-spread popularity 
of mead is best proven by the philologists. In Scythia it was called 
medos; in Greece, methu; in India, madhu; in England, mead; 
in Old Irish, mid; in German, meth; in the Slavic countries, 
medu; in Lithuanian, medus; etc. 

Previous to the introduction of grape wine and malt liquors, 
mead was a universal drink the world over. It was prized in the 
remote past as good wine, beer, whisky and cordials are today. 

MEAD 125 

Mead preceded in Greece the wine-era by many long centuries. 
Aristotle remarks: "When the honey is squeezed out of the combs 
an agreeable strong drink, like wine, is produced." Beer drinking 
among the ancient Greeks was considered a barbaric custom. 
Apollonius Rhodius (235 b.c.) related that the Argonauts kept 
vast stores of food and mead which the cup-bearers drew forth in 
beakers and described how the heroes grasped the full goblet in 
both hands and relished it, pouring also a cup of mead upon the 
seas before lifting their anchors. The Nordic races highly valued 
mead and it was the drink of their heroes. The Niebelungen 
heroes drank meth out of golden goblets and ox-horns. The high 
halls of Valhalla flowed with mead and the dead warriors freely 
drank from the inexhaustible supply. The intrepid Goth, Beowulf, 
was offered mead by the bracelet-covered queen at the court of 
Hrothgar who made the hall the greatest mead-house ever 
known. Mead was the "nectar" of all Scandinavian countries. It 
was their national drink. On an ancient Runic calendar, found in 
Scandinavia, consisting of pictorial symbols, two of the twelve 
months of the year bear witness to the popularity of mead. Janu- 
ary first, the day of Yuletide festivities, was represented by two 
crossed ornamental meadhorns (these embellished horns look 
very much like those from which visitors in Upsala (Sweden) 
drink mead today (for a good price) at the "Barrow of Odin"), 
and the month of September, by a beehive and a swarm of bees, 
a reminder to collect the honey which is so necessary for brewing 
mead. In the Eddas, mead is often mentioned. Speaking of heroes: 
"Blue mead was their liquor, and it proved their poison ; they 
marched to Cattraeth filled with mead and drunk." In the early 
Christian era mead still was a favorite drink. In the "Legends of 
the Holy Rood" mead is also mentioned. Chaucer alludes to 
"meth" as a common drink {Knight's Tale; Miller's Tale). 
Shakespeare alludes to metheglin when he suggests something 
sweet (Love's Labour's Lost; The Merry Wives of Windsor). 
It seems rather remarkable how mead, the first fermented 
drink known, was ousted by the fermented produce of grapes, 
namely, wine. It suffered the same fate as honey as a food and 


sweetening substance. Wine prepared from grapes came into 
vogue comparatively late. Grapes came from China to Greece and 
Sicily; the Phoenicians carried them to the South of France, and 
the Romans to the Rhine and Danube. The first grape vines were 
planted on the Rhine in Ludwigsau by King Ludwig, "The Ger- 
man," in 842 a.d. But it required many centuries before mead 
was entirely "dethroned." 

Among primitive races, especially the African tribes, mead has 
remained, up to this day, the popular drink. The East-African 
nomadic races not only eat the wild honey but they dilute it with 
water and let it ferment into wine or beer called tetsch, which is 
their favorite drink. The African soothsayers and prophets intoxi- 
cate themselves with this honey-wine. During ceremonials and 
magical practices it is liberally used. They drink it from horns, 
like the Niebelungen used to do, and also distil it for brandy. 

In Africa honey is found in huge quantities; in some places the 
bees are so numerous, as Seyffert-Dresden describes it, that they 
even obstruct the passage of travelers and the air is filled with 
the odor of honey and the continuous buzzing of bees. The Afri- 
can races, without exception, are fond of honey. They mix it with 
flour, cereals, butter, milk and bake pastries with it; they even 
knead their tobacco with honey, making dry cubes for chewing- 
tobacco which they call Latuka. 

The Boros and the American Indians of the Western Amazon 
forests are also fond of honey. They use it for food and prepare 
their beverages from it, which they drink in excess during festive 
occasions. The wild honey is collected from the cavities of dead 
trees or from the hollow tree-trunks which the natives set up in 
the thatch of their houses for the new swarms to nest in. 

In India, honey is an important article in the preparation of 
foods and drinks, especially in the manufacture of alcoholic 
liquors. The Himalayan mead has an unusual potency; one cup is 
sufficiently intoxicating. In ancient Babylon, date and honey-wine, 
called sikaru, was a powerful alcoholic drink. The misshu of the 
Koreans is a brandy with a high percentage of alcohol. It is a 
distilled honey-wine. Some Persians have a tube gently inserted 

MEAD 127 

between their teeth while still asleep, and have a mixture of warm 
milk, whisky and honey poured into their mouths so that the taste 
of "nectar" should be their first conscious sensation each day 
{Patrick Balfour , Grand Tour). 

According to ancient Anglo-Saxon history, the beehive supplied 
the whole population, from the king down to the poorest subject, 
with food, drink and light. Mead was served at the royal tables, 
in monasteries and in the houses of the poor. During royal festivi- 
ties, mead was served in horns. English history mentions how 
Ethelstan, the subordinate King of Kent (Xth Century), ex- 
pressed his delight, when visiting his relative, that there was "no 
deficiency of mead." The affluent supply of mead in medieval 
Germany is proven by the fact that when hostile tribes tried to 
burn the town of Meissen, on the Upper-Elbe, in the year 10 15, 
its population, owing to shortage of water, extinguished the flames 
with their reserve stock of mead. 

J. Magnus, in the Historia Sueonum (The History of Swedes), 
describes how Hunding, the 23rd King of Sweadland, upon a 
false report of the death of his brother-in-law, Hading, King of 
Denmark, invited all his nobility to a sumptuous feast and pro- 
vided a large vessel of mead. After they had become drunk, as a 
token of friendship for his supposedly dead friend, Hunding 
plunged into the vessel and willingly drowned himself. The 
Swedes considered him immortal and superior in courage to the 
Greek and Roman heroes. 

Many varieties of honey-brew were used during the Middle 
Ages. Frequently the crushed combs were steeped in water, 
strained, and then put into earthen vessels until the liquid fer- 
mented and became mead. It was preferably kept in wooden bar- 
rels, and the longer it aged the more it gained in flavor and 
strength. This was the most common procedure. The stronger and 
"more generous" kind of mead was called metheglin. In its prepa- 
ration spices, like thyme, sweet marjoram, rosemary, ginger, cin- 
namon, bay leaves, cloves and pepper were used in liberal propor- 
tions. Sometimes sweet apples, pears and quinces were added. In 
some parts of Wales, the refuse-combs were brewed with malt or 


the variety of ingredients which were added for its improvement, 
or rather, for its degradation. The finest mead can be brewed from 
pure honey and water alone. Any addition of spices or other ma- 
terial serves to destroy its unique flavor. 

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, certain bee- 
masters were renowned in their day for mead brewing. One of the 
best mead-brewers claimed that his potion was absolutely indis- 
tinguishable, even by the most competent judges, from old 
Canary Sack (sack, a kind of wine, was a popular drink in Shake- 
speare's days). This authority gave careful directions for the 
manufacture of mead. If kept for a number of years, such mead, 
when poured into a glass, frothed like champagne, stilling soon, 
leaving the glass lined with sparkling air bubbles. It was of a pale 
golden color and had a bouquet like old cider, but its delicate 
taste was hardly comparable with any other known liquor. Dryden 
suggested diluting stronger wines with mead : 

T' allay the strength and hardness of the wine, 
Let with old Bacchus, new Metheglin join. 

In the courts of the Princes of Wales, the Mead-Maker was 
the eleventh dignitary, preceding even the court physician. He 
received his land and horses freej the Queen supplied him with 
linen and the King, with woolen clothing. A certain amount of 
mead was his allotted share. In the principality of Wales, "the 
spacious halls of the Princes resounded, accompanied by the lyre, 
with the praises of mead." Mead-hall and mead-bench are often 
mentioned in songs of the Druid bards. There were three things 
in Court which had to be communicated to the king before they 
were made known to any other person : 

"1st, Every sentence of the judge; 
2nd, Every new song; and 
3rd, Every cask of mead." 

Innumerable drinks were prepared from honey and wine. The 
famous old athole brose consisted of equal parts of honey and 

MEAD 131 

cream, to which mature Scotch whisky was added. (This was sup- 
posed to cure all ills — even without faith.) Boswell, in The Life 
of Johnson, mentioned a drink, "a curious liquor peculiar to his 
country," which the Cornish fishermen drank. They called it 
^mahogany. It consisted of two parts of gin and one part of treacle, 
well beaten together. Johnson begged Mr. Eliot to have some 
made, which was done with proper skill. Johnson thought it a 
very good beverage, a counterpart of what was called athol por- 
ridge in the Highlands of Scotland, a mixture of whisky and 
honey, but he considered the latter a better liquor than that of the 
folks of Cornish, because "both of its component parts were bet- 
ter." (It is not surprising that Johnson suffered from bad gout.) 
Johnson remarked that "mahogany must be a modern name, for 
it is not long since the wood called mahogany was known in this 
country." Johnson also had the bees in mind when he remarked 
that "Tom Birch is as brisk as a bee in conversation." 

Edwardes quotes the old bee-master: "But of all the good 
things given us by the wise physician of the hive, there is nothing 
so good as well-brewed metheglin. This is just as I have made it 
for forty years, and as my father made it long before that. Be- 
tween us we have been brewing mead for more than a century. It 
is almost a lost art now; but here in Sussex there are still a few 
antiquated folks who make it, and some even remember the old 
'methers,' the ancient cups, it used to be quaffed from. As an 
everyday drink for working-men, wholesome, nourishing and 
cheering, there is nothing like it in or out of the Empire." Joseph 
Warder, a physician, (1726) dedicating a book about bees to his 
ruler, Queen Anne, refers to mead as a "liquor no ways inferior to 
the best of Wines coming either from France or Spain," and sug- 
gests a toast to her Majesty's health "not with the expensive wine 
of our enemies but with a glass such as our Bees can procure us." 
Rev. Thorley also thought mead "not inferior to the 'Best' of 
foreign Wines." Honey-beer was very popular with the ancient 
Gauls. They had two kinds, zythus prepared with pure honey for 
the rich, and corma, made from the combs after the honey had 


been extracted, for consumption by the poor. The Russian miod is 
an old-fashioned honey-drink, of the same strength as beer. 

The French being ardent wine growers, despised mead. It was 
never sold under that name. Nonetheless, much mead was sold in 
France under fictitious names like Rota, Madeira, Malmsey, etc. 
The Bavarian meth was the precursor of the beer industry of 
Munich. The use of hops in beer-making originated in Russia. 


HYDROMEL, i.e., honey and water, made under the special di- 
rection of Pliny and Galen, was for centuries not only a popular 
drink but a salutary medicine. Pliny was a firm believer in hy- 
dromel; he thought that "it is an extremely wholesome beverage 
for invalids who take nothing but light diet; it invigorates the 
body, is soothing to the mouth and stomach, and by its refreshing 
properties allays feverish heats. It is well suited for persons of 
chilly temperament or of a weak and pusillanimous constitution, 
. . . diminishing also the asperities of the mind." According to 
Pliny, anger, sadness and all other afflictions of the mind can 
be modified by diet. OXYMEL, made of honey, vinegar, sea salt 
and rain-water, was in great vogue in olden times, when it was 
considered an infallible cure for sciatica, gout, and rheumatic ail- 
ments. It was also used to "gargarize with in Squinancy." There 
were many other preparations made with honey. RHODOMEL was 
a mixture of roses and honey; OMPHACOMEL was made from 
fermented grape- juice and honey; and OENOMEL from unfer- 
mented grape-juice and honey. This last combination was used 
for gout and "nerves." Clysma of honey and water was con- 
sidered a remedy of merit for cleansing the bowels. The ancient 
Greek condkum was honey mixed with wine and pepper. It was a 
popular medicine for all kinds of digestive ailments. Most ancients 
attributed to honey-drinks a soporiferous effect. 

Butler thought that the virtues of mead were about the same 
as those of honey. He advocated old mead as "a wine most 

MEAD 133 

agreeable to the stomach, as it restores appetite, opens the pas- 
sages for the Spirit and breath, and softens the bellies." He also 
thought that "it was good for those who have coughs, quartan 
ague and cachexia and that it helps to guard against diseases of the 
brain {Epilepsie or falling evil) for which wine is pernicious." 
The attainment of old age he attributed to its use. 

For many centuries mead was considered a veritable elixir vitae. 
Its principal medicinal value was in kidney ailments, as an excel- 
lent diuretic without disastrous effect on the kidneys. As for gout 
and rheumatism, mead ranked not only as a curative but also as a 
preventive medicine. It was widely used as a good digestive and 

VINEGAR is another profitable by-product of honey and it far 
excels in quality all similar products, not excepting wine vinegar. 
Inferior types of honey can be well utilized for this purpose. Any 
liquid containing sugar can be used for making vinegar. Five parts 
of water to one part of honey exposed to acidous fermentation 
will produce vinegar. It should be boiled for about 10 minutes in 
a jug or glass container (never metal). Some minerals and a little 
yeast can be added to hasten the process. Left in a barrel, in a 
warm room, the bung-hole closed with cheesecloth, the fermenta- 
tion will be complete in several weeks. 

Honey-vinegar, pure or mixed with honey (oxymel), also had 
wide employment in ancient therapeutics both as a medicine and as 
an external application. 



TODAY honey does not have the significancy which it enjoyed 
for thousands of years. It was forced into the background 
upon the intrusion of refined sugar in the middle of the eight- 
eenth century. This is a regrettable error. It would greatly benefit 
humanity if honey could be restored to the rank which it occupied 
in antiquity and physicians, above all, should help the good cause. 
The modern housewife uses "honey" only ... as a word, when 
she is anxious to have a new fur coat, an automobile or jewelry. 

Honey is physiological sugar and not a counterfeit. Through 
the prodigious genius of Nature, through a wonderful cycle, the 
energy of the sun is preserved in the nectar and pollen of flowers, 
and is liberated when honey is eaten. The influence of ultraviolet 
rays on sugar, imparting inhibitive power against the growth of 
various bacteria, yeasts and molds, is also conveyed to honey, 
which may be one of the reasons that it has such distinct anti- 
septic and antifermentative qualities. Pollen, which honey con- 
tains, even though by accidental admixture, is the procreative 
germ, the endocrine of plant-life, and is transmitted into the 
human body when honey is consumed. The newest discoveries in 
biochemistry emphasize that quantity is not essential to produce 
effects. Honey is reasonable in price, is more nutritious than many 
other foods, for instance, butter, and keeps almost indefinitely. 

Honey ought to have more attention in feeding not only the 
healthy but invalids and infants. Honey behooves the well and 
the ill: it is a good, practical and delicious food, the source of the 
oldest and most salubrious drinks and an excellent remedial agent. 
Honey conserves health and also restores health. It is more than 
a plain sweet. There are treasures buried in honey, yet undiscov- 



ered by science. The ancients compared it with molten gold. Many 
diseases, which never follow the consumption of honey, could 
be avoided by using honey instead of resorting to the indiscrim- 
inate, though admittedly more comfortable, substitution of sugar. 
When will people wean themselves, for instance, from the cor- 
rupt habit of "sugaring" their coffee, tea and other beverages? By 
right every family and restaurant table should be provided with a 
handy drif-cut pitcherful of honey to sweeten coffee, tea, grape- 
fruit, berries, salads, pancakes, etc., and to make it possible for 
anyone to take occasionally a glassful of hot water-honey mixture 
to promote a free flow of bile and induce gastric and intestinal ac- 

There are, of course, a few people with whom honey does not 
agree. They will experience a griping soon after its consump- 
tion. This is due to the high hygroscopic property of the sub- 
stance, which readily absorbs gastric and intestinal fluids. The 
thirst which one feels after consuming honey is due to this cir- 
cumstance, or rather advantage, because if the craving for water 
is gratified the system benefits by it. Diluting honey with water 
or mixing it with other foods will, at times, prevent such griping. 

The thirst produced by the consumption of honey with the urge 
to drink more water is extremely important. The average per- 
son does not drink sufficient water. The human system requires 
daily about two and one-half quarts of liquid. Water, besides 
being a regulator of body temperature, is an important vehicle 
for removing waste products. Seventy per cent of the body weight 
consists of water and any loss must be replaced. 

Certain individuals have an idiosyncrasy for honey. They can- 
not eat even the smallest amount. This is often an allergic con- 
dition, that is, they are honey-sensitized, like people who suffer 
from hay fever or asthma are sensitized to certain pollens which 
produce these conditions. Some people can eat extracted honey 
but not comb-honey and can not approach bee-materials, such as 
frames, combs, etc., without provoking an asthmatic attack. There 
are people who are sensitive to honey from one State and can 
eat honey from another State without trouble. Certain people can 


not tolerate buckwheat or sage honey but any other type agrees 
with them. In general, sensitivity toward honey is very rare and is 
least common among all food allergies. It is best for these few 
victims to leave honey alone. 

Sugar consumption has increased in the United States during 
the last half century by 500%. While 100 years ago the daily 
per capita industrial sugar consumption represented 45 calories, 
today it has increased to 5 50 calories, that is, about twelve times. 
As the daily requirement of an average individual is approxi- 
mately 2500 calories, commercial sugar supplies one-fifth of the 
total. This amount is far beyond the mark, because it encroaches 
on the scope of calories to be supplied by starches, fats, animal 
and vegetable proteins and, last but not least, by more beneficial 
simple sugars. It is not surprising that obesity is on the increase. 
Uncle Sam will soon lose his lanky figure and acquire the paunch 
of John Bull. The daily candy expenditure of the United States 
is well over a million dollars. 

Alfred W. McCann thought that America had become a nation 
of "sugar-hogs." In 18 30 the annual per capita consumption was 
7^2 pounds j in 1870 — 23 pounds y in 191 8 — 89 pounds and in 
1926 — 120 pounds. During prohibition years sugar consumption 
greatly increased, not only because there was a demand for a sub- 
stitute "pick up," but also because most breweries converted their 
facilities into candy and chocolate factories, and manufactured 
soft drinks. Since the repeal of the Prohibition Act the yearly 
sugar consumption has decreased twelve pounds per capita. To- 
day it is about one hundred and eight pounds. Each man, woman 
or child in the United States consumes about one-third of a 
pound j that is, about a teacupful of sugar a day. According to the 
1 91 9 statistics this amount was distributed as follows: 

80% home consumption 

10% by confectioners 

6% by bakeries 

3% in soft drinks 

1% in tobacco and chewing gum 


The United States is the "sweetest" country in the world. (If 
this has two meanings, both are correct ! ) While the entire world 
consumes forty billion pounds of sugar yearly, the consumption in 
the United States alone is ten billion pounds. The regrettable part 
is that most of it is imported. All the sweetening could be sup- 
plied by domestic honeys and there would be no need of one 
hundred and eight pounds of sugar per capita, because honey 
satiates more quickly than sugar. The person who will succeed 
in inventing a process of putting honey in cube or powder form 
will prove to be the greatest benefactor of humanity. The hygro- 
scopic, that is, the water absorbing quality of honey will, how- 
ever, place an almost unsurmountable obstacle in his way. (Dr. 
Bevan mentions in The Honey Bee that the Jews of Moldavia 
and the Ukraine prepare from honey a sort of sugar, which is 
solid and as white as snow. They expose honey in a vessel, which 
is a bad conductor of calories, to frost for three weeks, in a place 
where neither sun nor snow can reach it. By this process the 
honey, without being congealed, becomes clear and hard like 
candy. They send it to the distilleries at Danzig.) 

Sweets, coffee and tea remain, so far, our best stimulants. They 
are less harmful than alcohol, especially if this is taken in excess. 
In 1 91 8, during the World War the sugar rations of the A. E. F. 
were increased 100% and coffee, 50%, to supply the soldiers 
with much-needed energy. In ancient times, warriors used honey 
for this purpose. Honey, of course, will bestow more benefit dur- 
ing the winter months. 

It is singular that the population of the United States, con- 
sidering the excellent nutritive, tonic and protective value of 
honey, has not as yet become honey-conscious. There is no other 
country in the world where the public is more interested in health 
and, of course, in diet problems than in America. Innumerable 
books are published on the subject and there is an endless list 
of health magazines. The daily papers have their columns on 
physical culture and diet; there are free lectures; and colleges, 
schools, commercial and industrial organizations, federal, state 
and community health officials vie in giving health suggestions. 


Officials of circulating libraries will tell you that more books 
are read on health than on any other topic. The books plainly 
show the wear and tear. 

A remarkable fact in modern literature, as already mentioned, 
is that honey is so sadly neglected, though it is the end-purpose 
of apiculture. In textbooks, honey is treated more from a technical 
viewpoint, namely, how to produce as much honey as possible. The 
same comment applies to foreign literature. The writer has found 
the lengthy chapter on honey in the ABC and XYZ of Bee Cul- 
ture, edited by E. R. Root, the most exhaustive and important 
treatise on the subject. 

Though there is an old proverb that "good wine needs no 
bush," * yet the American Honey Institute uses its best efforts to 
popularize the sale and a more widespread use of honey. The 
lack of interest and the apparent opposition of the medical pro- 
fession, of course, entails a tremendous handicap. Several years 
ago a pamphlet appeared, written by E. R. Root, the Editor of 
Gleanings in Bee Culture, entitled Honey as Food, but indorse- 
ment by the Committee on Foods of the American Medical Asso- 
ciation was refused because they considered it "an offense to 
honest advertising." The booklet was a compilation of actual and 
valuable statements about honey by eminent physicians, many of 
them university professors, chiefs of health, food, nutrition de- 
partments and hospitals j excerpts from outstanding medical jour- 
nals, etc., but the learned Board considered it a "hodgepodge of 
misinformation concerning 'alleged' (the quotation marks are 
the author's) values of honey." {Journ. Am. Med. Assn., June 

23, 1934)- 

Among the "misinformers" whose statements were quoted in 

the pamphlet, we find the following names: 

Dr. E. P. Joslin, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical 

* The proverb has a Central European origin. It was an old practice to hang 
out a bush or a tree branch before an inn where fresh wine was sold. The custom 
still prevails in Vienna. Shakespeare uses the phrase in the epilogue of As You 
Like It: "Good wine needs no bush; a good play needs no epilogue." 


Dr. F. G. Banting, the discoverer of insulin 

Dr. B. P. Hawk, Professor of Jefferson Medical College, 

Dr. C. H. English, Medical Director of the Lincoln National 
Life Ins. Co. 

Dr. G. N. W. Thomas, of Edinburgh (Lancet, 207: 1924) 

Dr. W. G. Sackett, Bacteriologist, Colorado Experiment Sta- 

Dr. H. E. Barnard, Food Chemist of the American Honey 

Dr. J. H. Kellogg, Battle Creek Sanitarium 

Dr. Arnold Lorand, internationally known physician and 

Dr. Paul Luttinger, Pediatrist 

Dr. Clarence W. Leib, author of Eat, Drink and be Healthy 

Sir Henry Baldwin, King George Fifth's dentist 

Dr. Leonard Williams, London, author of The Science and 
Art of Living and others. 

The erudite Committee, however, accepted and approved one 
suggestion of the pamphlet about the usefulness of honey as an 
antifreeze in automobile radiators,* as "probably the most en- 
lightening paragraph of the entire leaflet." Needless to say the 
Council exceeded its authority in regard to automobiles, inas- 
much as they have no dictatorial rights as yet in such matters. 
The flippant and ill-disposed argument certainly did not benefit 
the cause of honey. (Luckily the pamphlet omitted to mention 
another novel use of honey, that of filling golf balls, otherwise, 
very likely, the golf balls would have obtained commendation 
and honey, another stroke.) 

Of course, the acceptance of honey by the medical profession 
as a protective and curative substance and their indorsement would 

* E. R. Root thinks it sacrilegious to use honey for any such purpose when 
wood alcohol is available. 


create pandemonium not only in medical circles but among phar- 
maceutical chemists, wholesale and retail druggists, radio an- 
nouncers, even undertakers, not to mention the sugar refining 
companies, the candy manufacturers and retailers, soda counters, 
etc. It would be a veritable economic catastrophe. The sale of 
laxative remedies (it would be interesting to know their number), 
digestive and headache powders, bicarbonate of soda, enema bags, 
and rectal suppositories might entirely stop. To these we may add 
sedatives, various cough remedies, expectorants, throat lozenges, 
gargles, etc. The external use of honey would make a dent in 
the sale of antiseptics and have influence even on the cosmetic 

The wide use of honey would also cripple surgical practice be- 
cause hemorrhoid, gastric ulcer, gall bladder, appendicitis, tonsil 
and many other operations would greatly decline or entirely dis- 
appear, not considering the moral effect which the recollection 
of former unnecessary operations would cast on discredited 


The maxim, "too much of a good thing," applies also to honey. 
In Prov. XXV. 16, we find: "It is not good to eat much honey — 
as for men to search for their own glory, is not glory." In Prov. 
XXV. 27, there is another suggestion: "Hast thou found honey? 
Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith 
and vomit it." It is an old Latin saying, Qui mel multum comedit> 
non est ei bonum. (He who eats much honey does himself no 
good.) The Crusaders who followed Edward I to Palestine died 
in large numbers from excessive heat and from eating too much 
honey and fruit. 

Galen advised mixing honey with other food, called "sweet- 
meat," which would not only nourish but also impart a good 
color. An anonymous writer in the Planudian Appendix suggested 
that honey should not be eaten alone, and that "too much honey 


is gall." Taken by itself, without other food, honey would make 
one lean rather than fat. 

People who have glutted themselves with honey will turn 
against it. As a matter of fact, overindulgence in any food may 
produce a permanent aversion. Medical science calls this an 
allergic state and often presumes that such victims have been 
sensitized to the substance. In medical literature there are in- 
numerable reports of such cases. Hutchinson and Duke describe 
abdominal allergy due to honey. A man twenty-seven years old 
consumed a large quantity of honey and afterwards the slightest 
bit produced severe abdominal pains. Rolleston mentions a case 
of migraine after the least consumption of honey, due to previous 
indiscretions. Cane-sugar, barley, oatmeal, butter, milk, eggs, in 
fact any food substance may cause similar reactions. As already 
stated, sensitivity toward honey is least common among all food 

There are many mysterious circumstances which may influ- 
ence a like or dislike of honey. Dr. G. H. Stover reported a case 
in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bulletin (November, 1898) which 
has immunological as well as neurological interest: 

"A woman thirty-five years old, single, consulted me for a 
rather unusual swelling on her right cheek, following a bee-sting 
injury received several days before. Her face was considerably 
swollen and she felt some unpleasant constitutional symptoms. 
Five days later, she had fully recovered, when she made the very 
interesting statement that she never before had been able to eat 
honey, even the smell of it nauseated her, but after she was stung, 
developed a craving for it and ate it with complete satisfaction." 
Stover finishes his report: "Will some of the immunization ex- 
perimenters throw a light on this occurrence?" 

The author of the present volume can corroborate Dr. Stover's 
observation. During his extensive experience in administering bee 
stings to arthritics and rheumatics he has been frequently sur- 
prised by the voluntary reports of patients that they had devel- 
oped an expressed longing for honey which did not exist pre- 
viously. This actuality could be ascribed to the effect of bee 


venom, which, by increasing considerably the blood circulation, 
induces a consequent craving for an energy-producing substance. 


Poisonous honey is often mentioned in ancient literature. Xeno- 
phon, in the Anabasis, describes the "Retreat of the Ten Thou- 
sand." When the army was returning from Asia to Greece, while 
passing through Trebizond the soldiers discovered that the woods 
were rilled with honeycombs which they eagerly consumed. As 
a result, they all went "off their heads," suffered from vomiting 
and diarrhea, and most of them were unable to stand on their 
legs. Some dropped to the ground, hundreds of them lay pros- 
trate, apparently dead, others appeared to be violently drunk or 
in a fit of madness but all recovered after three or four days 
and acted like convalescents after a severe sickness. 

The toxicity of the honey was attributed to poisonous plants. 
Rhododendron and azalea are plentiful in that section. Androme- 
dotoxin, a poisonous glucoside, will produce symptoms similar to 
those from which the army suffered. Archangelsky discovered 
two new bodies in the rhododendron plant, rhododendrin and 
ericolin, both belonging to the camphor group, which have a strong 
toxic effect. 

Similar observations were made in the Caucausus, near Batum, 
where rhododendron and azalea also grow. Honey growers in 
that section do not use honey in the spring when these plants are 
in bloom. Ssanjuk, on the other hand, doubts the toxic effect 
of these plants and asserts that the poisonings are due to the fact 
that when honey is collected in the woods from hollow trees 
many bees are crushed and the effect is due to the venom of the 
bees, which the honey contains. As a matter of fact, he noticed 
that such honeys were sometimes poisonous, other times not. The 
writer has to contradict this latter allegation because bee venom, 
even in large quantities, is readily destroyed by the saliva and 
gastric ferments. 

There are also other plants which yield noxious substances. 


Honey collected from goat's bane is harmful. H. M. Fraser 
wrote that such honey never thickens, is dark red, has a strange 
smell, is heavier than other honeys, and often causes sneezing. 
Those who eat it become bathed in perspiration, throw themselves 
on the ground and are relieved only by repeated doses of a mix- 
ture of old mead, rue and salted fish, which produces vomiting. 
On the Island of Sardinia honeys collected by the bees from 
certain plants will produce a painful, spasmodic laugh (sardonic 
laugh). On the Isle of Corsica, honey gathered from the ever- 
green yew is bitter and not fit to eat, a fact which Virgil mentions. 
Martial also alludes to the poor quality of certain Corsican plants. 
"You ask for lively epigrams and propose lifeless subjects. What 
can I do, Caecilanus? You expect Hyblean or Hymethian honey 
to be produced and yet offer the Attic bee nothing but Corsican 
thyme." (Epigrams Bk. XI. Ep. 42). Ovid refers to honeys 
collected from hemlock as infamous. Galen mentions an incident 
when two physicians, tasting honey at the open market in Rome, 
fell to the ground and soon afterwards died. In Heidelberg and 
its surroundings, it is well known that chestnut honey has a strong 
hypnotic effect. The bees collect this honey from the blooms of 
the chestnut trees (castania vesca). 

If an extracted sting apparatus, which, as a rule, is accom- 
panied by a poison bag, is imbedded in honey, it may inflict a 
wound hours or even days later. The venom is volatile, but its 
strength is well preserved in honey. Sporadic cases have been 
reported where buried stings were found in broken combs and 
persons eating such honey were injured in their mouths. A de- 
tached sting, coming in contact with body surfaces, may work auto- 
matically without the bee, and dig itself into the layers of the 
skin or of the mucuous membranes, emptying the contents of the 
poison bag into the wound. 

The "mad" honey {maenomenon) of Pontus was often men- 
tioned. Aelian (V. 42) commented that honey of Pontus made 
people mad but cured epilepsy. Its toxicity was also attributed 
to rhododendron and azalea, with which the woods of Pontus 
abound. Pliny described a mountain on the Island of Crete, nine 


miles in circumference. The honey produced there would not be 
touched even by flies but it was highly valued as a medicine. 
Poisonous honeys are also found in certain districts of Persia. 

Dr. Barton reported (American Philosophical Transactions, 
1790, Vol. V.) that in the autumn and winter of the year 1790 
many people died in Pennsylvania from the effects of wild 
honey, collected from kalmia (lamb-kill) plants. Several fatal 
cases were reported at the same time in New York State, caused 
by wild honey made from the flowers of laurel shrubs. Honey 
collected by the bees from mountain laurel is often poisonous. 
Even today the beekeepers in North and South Carolina first 
try the effect of laurel honey on the family dog. If the dog, after 
indulging in suspicious honey, shows symptoms of staggering and 
has a glazed look, the honey is condemned. 

Maladies caused by the consumption of honey are, as a matter 
of fact, not attributable to the honey itself. The bees, besides 
gathering nectar, collect a certain amount of pollen which they 
deposit in the brood cells for their young. Pollen is a protein 
substance which the brood requires for building new tissues. After 
the brood is developed it will consume only honey, that is car- 
bohydrates, to generate energy. A full-grown bee does not re- 
place tissues, consequently does not require protein. The pollen, 
called bee-bread, a protein substance, is exposed to fouling and 
decomposition and also to formation of toxins through bacterial 
invasion. In a word, some ailments are produced not by honey 
but by protein j they are plain and simple cases of ptomaine 

In modern honey production, of course, this cannot happen. 
The bees do not store protein in the small upper combs, called 
supers, but in the larger brood frames. The honey in the supers 
is meant for human consumption. To prevent the queen from 
laying eggs in these small combs the two sections of the hive are 
separated by a screen through which there is a passage, large 
enough to permit the entrance of the smaller worker bees but 
which prevents the queen, on account of her massive figure, from 
going through it. If honey is extracted by centrifugal force even 


from the brood cells, only the liquid honey is ejected and the 
bee-bread will remain in the combs. The contention made by some 
research workers that poisoning from eating honey is sometimes 
due to bee venom is all wrong. The venom, if there is any in 
honey, would be easily destroyed, as already mentioned, by diges- 
tive ferments. 

It is noteworthy that the flowers of certain plants are not 
poisonous to the bees, but the honey made from these plants is 
harmful. Other plants again, e.g. poison-ash, are liable to kill a 
whole hive of bees. (Certain kalmia leaves are fatal even to 
pheasants.) Some plants affect young bees and not the older 
ones. Dead bees are found occasionally on tulips, though tulips 
do not secrete nectar. Bees collect nectar from poison ivy with- 
out injury to themselves, neither is such honey harmful. All in 
all, poisonings with wild honeys are rare, since bees carefully 
select the wholesome plants and resort to other sources only when 
in utmost need. Bees will avoid plants like wormwood, rhubarb, 
aconite, jasmine, senna, wood-laurel and rhododendron} they 
never visit these flowers except when there are no others obtain- 
able. Honeys collected from the blooms of onions and leeks (the 
national emblem of the Welsh) are not unhealthy but their aroma 
is transmitted — not to the best advantage. Chinquapin honey is 
bitter as gall, but not harmful. The beautiful and fragrant yellow 
jessamine that turns the color of the Southern swamps to gold 
in the springtime has the reputation of yielding poisonous honey. 


Honey always was, and still is, adulterated. Since the strict 
enforcement of the Federal Pure-Food Law, violators are severely 
punished and gross vitiations are now extremely rare. The fact 
that honey was one of the leading articles which the Food Stand- 
ards Committee considered when the law was passed, attests the 
importance of the product as a food and it also reflects the fre- 
quency with which it was adulterated. Adulterated honey, of 
course, does not mean artificial honey but honey that has been 


mixed with sucrose, commercial glucose, starch, chalk, gelatine, 
water and other substances. The greatest problem for the chem- 
ists of the Food and Drug Administration today is to detect 
commercial invert sugar which is not so easily traced as other 

The fact is that good honey could no more be successfully imi- 
tated than milk, a bird's egg or a genuine pearl. The apprehension 
most people have that certain honeys are adulterated is due to the 
fact that they taste differently from honeys previously consumed. 
Honeys have the same flavor, color and aroma only when the 
nectar is gathered from the same flowers ; otherwise, these char- 
acteristic attributes will greatly differ. Procuring comb honey is 
not a protection against being deceived. Beekeepers, when there is 
a scarcity of flowers or during an unusually rainy season, feed their 
bees with sugar-water which they place before the entrance of the 
hives. The bees gorge themselves with this sugar and quickly de- 
posit it in the combs without giving it a chance to undergo in- 
version. The result is a poor quality of honey in the comb which 
lacks most of the important constituents of real honey. Most 
extracted honeys on the market are now chemically pure. 

Since the Federal Pure Food Law went into effect, January 1, 
1907, as mentioned, there is hardly any adulterated honey to be 
found. Previously "factitious" honeys were quite common on the 
markets. When Dr. H. W. Wiley, during his campaign for pure 
food laws pleaded before Congress, he presented, among many 
other fraudulent articles, a bottle of honey, on the surface of which 
there was a dead bee. The tricky dealer believed that the buyer, 
seeing the bee, would not doubt the genuineness of the honey. 
This was just a trap because the bottle contained a sticky sweet 
substance which resembled honey in appearance but was never 
produced by bees and contained many injurious ingredients. 

Date and fig-honey were known in ancient Palestine. The Bible 
mentions that a substance made from dates and figs was sold as 
honey. Quintillian and Herodotus referred to denatured honey. 
Diophanes in Geoponica gave already a method of how to detect 


The United States Federal Food and Drugs Act is in need of 
several amendments regarding honey. In jams and jellies, for 
instance, the standard recognizes only sugar and not honey. In a 
word, if some manufacturer adds honey to these products it is 
technically considered an adulteration. W. S. Frisbie, Chairman 
of the Food Standards Committee, admits that a departure from 
a definite standard is an adulteration even if the substitution is 
effected by a more valuable ingredient instead of one of less in- 
trinsic value. The use of gold in our copper coinage would be con- 
sidered an adulteration. The Administration, however, does not 
bar the use of honey in jams and jellies provided the labeling calls 
attention to the fact that honey is used as a sweetener. 


The price of honey, taking into account countries and centuries, 
has varied considerably. In ancient Egypt, where honey was abun- 
dant, it was sold for an amount which was equivalent, according 
to our valuation, to about five cents a pound. 

Stanley complained about the exorbitant charges for honey in 
Africa during his travels. He was compelled to give four yards 
of linen in exchange for two quarts of honey. Muir mentioned 
that in 1856, in California, the price of a pound of honey was two 
dollars} twelve years later the price had fallen to 12^ cents. 
The value of sugar underwent a corresponding change. In the 
XVI Century, the price of sugar was approximately $2.50 a 

The wholesale price of extracted honey today is about four to 
five cents a pound; inferior honey for baking purposes sells at 
much lower prices. Comb honey is higher because the wholesale 
price of wax alone is about 20 to 22 cents a pound. The prices 
vary each year depending on demand and production. During the 
World War, for instance, when sugar was scarce and could not 
be obtained in large quantity, honey sold in carlots from twenty 
to twenty-five cents a pound. Ice cream was made with honey 
during this period, and it was a far superior product. Soon after 


the Armistice, when sugar was again obtainable, the honey prices 
tumbled and ice cream is made today with sugar because it is 

There are, of course, objections to the high price of honey, 
compared with that of sugar. This drawback is mainly due to the 
fact that honey, as a rule, is purchased in small quantities. The 
customer pays for the jar, label, workmanship and the cost of 
the persuasive advertisements just as much as for the honey. 
When honey will be considered a standard article and not a fancy 
product and will be procured in bulk, the price should be greatly 
reduced. And then . . . rhyming slogans such as "Better than 
honey, for less money," and other efforts very much in vogue 
today, to make every goose appear a swan, should be accepted with 
less gullibility. 

There are over a million beekeepers in the United States and 
over six hundred million pounds of honey are produced. The au- 
thor's opinion is that honey production could be increased here 
tenfold, because only a fraction of the available nectar and pollen 
is utilized by the colonies of bees we have today. 



HONEY is far superior for cooking and baking purposes than 
corn syrup, molasses, maple or refined sugars. Sugar does 
not possess the fragrance and flavor of honey. Honey is high in 
calories and in sweetening power. 

There are thousands of uses for honey in cooking and baking. 
The list of recipes issued by the American Honey Institute of 
Madison, Wisconsin, is almost endless. In practically every copy 
of apicultural magazines, domestic or foreign, there are new 
suggestions for the use of honey in preparing cakes, bread, bis- 
cuits, muffins, jelly-rolls, waffles, griddle-cakes, puddings, fritters, 
mousses, and all kinds of confectionery. Preserves, jams, jellies, 
candies, ice-cream, icings, hard sauce, meringue, salad dressings 
(plain or French), cinnamon or pecan toast, etc., are more delicious 
when made with honey. Apples baked with honey are very de- 

Honey is excellent for baking pastries and bread. They remain 

sweet, moist and palatable for an indefinite period. When bread 

and pastries, baked with honey become dry — often only after 

many years — and are transferred for a few days to a damp place, 

they will change to their original condition on account of the 

great hygroscopic property of honey. (Some people say that honey 

pastries are so tasty that they are consumed long before they have 

a chance to become stale). Honey jumbles are sometimes as good 

ten years later as on the day they were baked. Cakes and bread made 

with honey are easily masticated and digested and have a distinct 

laxative effect. Martial (XIV. 222) refers to the fact that honey 

was extensively used in antiquity for baking purposes when he re- 



marks: "Bakers prepare for you sweet cakes in thousands of forms 
because the bees work for them." 

Honey cakes were extremely popular in ancient Egypt, Greece 
and Rome. The Egyptians fed honey cakes to their sacred bull 
Apis and the sacred crocodiles. On the wall-painting of the tomb 
of Rekh-Mi-Re the mixing and baking of honey cake is repro- 
duced. In the tomb of the Pa-Ba-Sa a man kneels and prays before 
honey cakes. They were used in Egypt during all ceremonial oc- 
casions. Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and the serpents guarding 
Hades were fed on honey cakes, likewise the sacred serpent 
guarding the Acropolis. 

Cheese-cake baked with honey was a favorite subject and highly 
praised by all Greek poets. Cheese-cake was glorified by Euripides 
and Aristophanes and honey cake by Anacreon and Sophocles. 
Horace praised the "ova mellita", eggs with honey. In Rome, 
libum was a sacrificial honey cake, the root of German "Leb"- 
kuchen; placenta was baked for festive occasions; scribitta was 
decorated with inscriptions and savillum was eulogized by Cato 
as the most savory of all cakes. 

The fain d'epice (gingerbread), made with honey, has always 
enjoyed great popularity in France. Mention of it is made as 
early as 1530. The pants mellitus of the Romans, baked with 
honey and anis, was a similar pastry. The Lebkuchen of Nurem- 
berg (Germany) has a world-wide reputation. The German Leb- 
kuchen is made of flour, honey, spices, alcohol, almonds, citron 
and orange peel. In its manufacture the main requirement is to 
allow the dough to rest for a considerable time before baking. This 
will accomplish the amalgamation of the flavors of its component 
parts. The dough is often kept for several months before it is 
placed in the oven. In Hungary and in all Slavic countries honey 
cakes are made in the shape of hearts, human or animal figures 
and are in great demand at country fairs. 

Wheat, corn, groats, sago, tapioca, barley, beans and lentils are 
often mixed with honey, vinegar, oil, mustard and spices. In Tur- 
key a great assortment of confectionery is made with honey. They 
call it chalva. Pastry made with honey and nuts, called baclava, 


is the favorite dessert of all Orientals. The Arabs make up bars 
similar to our chocolate-bars, from sesame oil, ground nuts and 
honey which they call halva. Sesame seed, honey and nuts, called 
sahm-sahm, is another favorite confiture of the Arabs. Most ori- 
ental sweetmeats were prepared with honey. The snow-white 
Anatolian honey, collected by the bees from the blooms of the 
cotton plant, was a great favorite of the seraglios of ancient Con- 
stantinople. Recently in California confections have been made 
with apples, oranges, walnuts, raisins and honey. 

Candy made with honey has a more distinguished taste and 
cannot be compared with candy made with sugar. Honey preserves 
the aroma and prevents staling. Honey candy seems to satisfy the 
craving for sweets more quickly and there is no desire to keep on 
ruminating unremittingly as in the case of sugar candy. Several 
pieces of honey candy go as far as a whole box of the cane-sugar 
variety. The ordinary chocolate candy contains as much as 40 to 
60% cane or beet-root sugar. The cheaper the candy the more 
sugar it contains. Honey possessing much higher sweetening 
power requires a smaller amount of admixture. The same applies 
to honey ice cream, which, in addition to being smooth and de- 
licious, is also more satisfying and cloys the appetite against 
further indulgence. But, of course, sugar is cheaper and freezes at 
a higher temperature. Adding honey to chocolate candies would 
also require less cocoa, which in itself is a harmful substance. The 
cocoa plant absorbs a great amount of manganese from the soil. 
Manganese is a metallic substance which produces symptoms simi- 
lar to those caused by lead or mercury. It is supposed to impair 
the intellect and affect the stomach and gall bladder. Cocoa, be- 
sides, contains oxalic acid. 

Honey with butter, cream or cottage cheese are very satisfac- 
tory and wholesome combinations. Honey preserves butter from 
becoming rancid if the honey is previously heated and the yeasts 
and enzymes destroyed. The mixture will keep for two or three 
weeks under refrigeration. It is an excellent spread for children 
and grown-ups over bread and pancakes and will also overcome 
one of the greatest objections to honey, i.e., its extreme fluidity. It 


is an oversight on the part of the great milk companies not to 
market a delicious honey cream, which would preclude the use of 
unsavory cod-liver oil and the purchase of expensive vitamin 

The best Italian Zampaglione, the Dutch Avocat and the Dan- 
ish Rodgrod are prepared with honey: likewise the German red 
groats, Rote Griitze, Kaiserschmarren, the French Biscuit de 
Savoie and the Tourte a la Frangipane. 

Foreign cookbooks, especially the older ones, contain valuable 
suggestions and numberless recipes for baking bread, muffins, 
cakes, cookies, etc., with honey. There are choice combinations to 
improve the flavor of honey with spices, e.g., anis, coriander, 
ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom seeds, nutmeg, etc. The 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 653 of the U. S. Department of Agricul- 
ture, Honey and its Uses in the Home, is a valuable pamphlet 
and covers the subject well. In cooking and baking, honey has 
unlimited possibilities. Let us be guided by the oft-repeated state- 
ment of our ancestors, "Honey bread is good to the last crumb". 


Honey added to beverages offers another grateful field for 
wholesome mixtures. Honey added to a cup of coffee or tea im- 
parts an exquisite aroma, besides sweetening and laxative effects. 
Soft drinks, for example lemonades, sodas and fruit punches, 
mixed with well-ripened honey are delicious. Honey milk-shake, 
egg-nogg, spiced milk must be tried only once. In cases of grippe 
several tablespoonfuls of honey with lemon juice in a cup of boil- 
ing water or red wine, sipped while hot, will keep the doctor away 
more successfully than a basketful of apples. Honey mixed with 
carbonated water binds the gases. 

Alcoholic drinks, cocktails and whisky mixed with honey are 
delectable. A quart of old sherry with an equal amount of water 
and whole cloves, sticks of cinnamon, allspice, a few grains of salt 
and honey, to suit the taste, boiled slowly for several hours and 
then allowed to stand a while, will make an unforgettable drink 


on cold winter evenings. It must be served hot after being strained. 
The author delights in offering this drink to his guests and it is 
often commented upon during a cheerful evening. The cup pro- 
duces warmth, benefits the digestion and stimulates without invad- 
ing, as do most hard drinks, the head, feet, heart, kidneys, and 
not infrequently, the liver — as a rule — all at once. 


Honey was used for ages as a preserver of organic matters. In 
medieval England meats and leather were cured in honey. In 
Sudan they boil meat in honey to preserve it. In Ceylon honey 
is used instead of salt as a conserver. 

Honey is excellent to preserve fruit because it intensifies the 
original flavor of fruit to which it adds its own aroma. The milder 
flavored honeys are preferred for preserving fruits, the stronger 
flavored ones are better for pickling. Jams, jellies and marma- 
lades made with honey are superior to those in which sugar is 
used. The world-famous Bar-le-duc (currant jam) of France is 
made with honey. Pickled fruits are prepared with honey, vinegar 
and water to which ginger, cloves, cinnamon and allspice are 
added. The spiced honey of the Turks is well known. 

Ripe fruits contain a considerable amount of sugar. Of course, 
if they were pickled prematurely (green) and they were not long 
enough exposed to the sun and only incompletely ripened, the 
creative force of Nature was interrupted and resulted in a failure 
to convert the acids into natural sugar. Such fruits, when they are 
preserved, require the addition of a great amount of refined sugar 
to make up for the deficiency, that is, for the natural sweetness. 

Plant-grafts, birds' eggs and valuable seeds which must be 
transported to different climates can be preserved in honey for a 
considerable time. 

All sweet media had an age-old repute to preserve not only 
organic matters but life itself. This can be verified by the experi- 
ence of our own Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest of the 
great. While in France, he received from America a quantity of 


Madeira wine, which had been bottled in Virginia. In some of the 
bottles he found a few dead flies, which he exposed to the warm 
sun, in the month of July; and in less than three hours these 
apparently dead insects recovered life, which had been so long 
suspended. At first they appeared as if convulsed; they then raised 
themselves on their legs, cleaned their eyes with their forefeet, 
dressed their wings with the hind legs, and began in a little while 
to fly about. This acute philosopher proposed, therefore, the fol- 
lowing question: — "Since, by such a complete suspension of all 
internal as well as external consumption, it is possible to produce 
a pause of life, and at the same time to preserve the vital prin- 
ciple, might not such a process be employed in regard to man? 
And if that be the case," added Franklin, like a true patriot, "I 
can imagine no greater pleasure than to cause myself to be im- 
mersed along with a few good friends in Madeira wine, and to be 
again called to life at the end of fifty or more years, by the genial 
solar rays of my native country, only that I may see what improve- 
ment the State has made, and what changes time has brought along 
with it." 

The preserving and hygroscopic powers of honey could be con- 
verted to divers uses in several branches of industry. It is a regret- 
table oversight on the part of the cigar and cigarette manufac- 
turers, for instance, that an admixture of honey to the tobacco is 
not employed more universally. Honey preserves the original 
flavor of the tobacco, to which it adds its own aroma and sweet- 
ness; besides, it would protect the stock from becoming dry. Many 
foreign pipe-mixtures and chewing tobacco contain honey which 
considerably enhances their mellowness. Lately, American packers 
have been experimenting with honey-cured meats. Jewelers darken 
natural onyx with honey. There are about a million and a half 
golf balls manufactured yearly in the United States containing 
honey in their centers which is supposed to greatly enhance their 
resiliency. Carbon paper and sail cloth are more tenacious when 
treated with honey. Chewing gum is another product for which 
honey could be utilized to advantage, on account of its ability to 
retain moisture. 


Honey has innumerable chemical and technical possibilities. 
Brewers ought to pry into the secrets of how the ancient Saxon 
"beor", honey beer, was made (beo = bee, from which the term 
beer was derived). Apparently there is a tendency today to pro- 
duce variety instead of quality because it offers a wider field for 
exploitation and a better opportunity to play the favorite modern 
sport — called competition. 


The beneficial effect of honey on the skin has an age-old repute. 
Poppea, the comely wife of Nero, who employed a hundred slaves 
to attend her beauty, used honey and tepid asses' milk as a face 
lotion. The patrician women of Rome followed her practice for 
centuries. The famous beauty, Mme. Du Barry, the mistress of 
Louis XV, used honey extensively in her toilet preparations ; so 
did Mme. du Sevigne, Marguerite of Navarre and Agnes Sorel. 
The latter called'honey "the soul of flowers." 

Many face creams and lotions, even today, contain honey. 
Honey has a nourishing, bleaching, astringent and antiseptic ef- 
fect on the skin. The noted beautiful hands of the Japanese 
women, devoid of all wrinkles, is attributable to their daily use of 
fresh honey as a hand lotion. The Chinese women use a paste 
made from crushed orange seeds and honey for pimples and also 
to clear their complexions. Crushed seeds of peaches or apricots 
with honey they use for softening their hands. Honey, yolks of 
eggs and sweet almond oil is the best softener of hands. For 
chapped lips and skin, honey (30 gm.) lemon juice (30 gm.) and 
Eau de Cologne (15 gm.) is an excellent remedy. Honey, glycer- 
ine, alcohol and lemon juice or citric acid are the ingredients of 
most lotions for sunburn, chafed skin and freckles. Many skin- 
soaps contain honey. The famous Balm of Gilead was made of 
mutton tallow, castile soap, honey, beeswax and alum. Honey as 
a cosmetic remedy has an advantage over cold creams because it 
does not grow hair. As a cleanser of hands, honey equals even 
mechanic soaps in efficiency without making the skin rough. 


Honey packs, honey masks and honey facials are getting more 
and more popular. The Creole women of Louisiana rub their 
entire bodies with a lotion consisting of honey and water, to which 
all possible assortments of spices are added. They use it not only 
as a cosmetic but as a cure for all kinds of skin trouble and sore 
throat. This application is also supposed to have the power to 
drive away evil spirits and to accord a clear view of the future. 
The Egyptian women chewed perfumed pills made of honey and 
spices to sweeten their breath. In ancient Rome a high-priced 
semisolid paste, called "honey-mint," was used for bad breath. 

Needless to say the cosmetic effect of honey is not restricted to 
its external application because the consumption of honey in itself 
will greatly improve not only the color but the texture of the 
skin. The beautiful complexions of Spanish and Italian women 
are due not solely to olive oil but also to honey. Many a "pimply- 
face" has blessed the author for suggesting honey as the principal 




PREADAMITIC man, before he changed his habitation and 
moved from trees to more comfortable quarters in caves and 
in the process of time became carnivorous, must have delighted 
in the luscious honey which evidently was plentiful in the forests. 
The friendship between man and the bees must have been sealed 
during those good old days, and has been preserved, even deep- 
ened, by continuous close contact and mutual service up to the 
present day. The bees still remain "man's best little friends in the 
world." They supply him with food, drink, light and medicine. 

The human race, since pristine times, has looked upon Nature 
from the viewpoint of utility. Animals and plants which were 
most useful or most harmful were always best known to man. It 
is not surprising, therefore, that bees have been so much in favor 
since remotest antiquity. Divine Providence would have been 
devoid of benevolence if she had neglected to produce a creature 
like the honeybee, so essential to man, "for whom all things were 

The history of honey is really the history of mankind. Bees, 
like horses, cattle and sheep, faithfully accompanied man in all 
his wanderings; they followed him over hills and dales, oceans 
and rivers, and were the chief witnesses of human civilization. To 
try to submit a complete history of honey would be a futile effort 
because there is not even a doubt that it is much older than human 
records and the race itself. Bees and their products were on our 
globe long before the Lord proclaimed: "Faciamus hominem ad 
imaglnem et similitudinem nostram." (Let us now make man in 
our image and likeness.) Genesis Ch. I, v. 26. 




We find the earliest traces of bees in the fossil ages. They were 
imbedded in amber, preserved by natural inhumation. Such dis- 
coveries have been reported in the Baltic regions of Germany, in 
Switzerland and in other parts of Central Europe. The size of 
these insects was about the same as that of our honeybees today. 
(Plate I.) Menzel suggested that they looked very much like the 
present Italian bees; Tony Kellen, on the other hand, thought 
that they seem to represent the Apis adamitica or pre-adamitica, 
originating in an era when the human race did not exist. Pytheas, 
the Greek navigator and astronomer (300 B.C.), referred to these 
fossil bees of the Baltic countries. Martial, in his epigrams (IV. 
32), alludes to bees entombed in amber, as though buried in 
honey, immortalized through their own labors. 

"The bee inclos'd, and through the amber shewn, 
Seems buried in the juice, which was his own. 
So honour'd was a life in labor spent: 
Such might he wish to have his monument." 

(Translated by Wm. Hay, 1755.) 

The petrified bee on Plate I is an interesting, very rare and 
unusually well preserved specimen. It was found only recently in 

the browncoal beds of Transylvania. 
This fossil bee from the Tertiary 
strata, imbedded in sandstone hun- 
dreds of thousands of years ago, is 
also similar to our contemporary 
honeybee. The rear legs have the 
identical rows of brushes, the abdo- 
men consists of six segments separ- 
^ ated by lighter colored bands and 
the antennae contain the same num- 
ber of joints. The author is indebted 
for the cut to Mr. J. Skovbo of 
fig. 1. Spanish Cave picture. Hermiston, Oregon, who was kind 

(Courtesy Hispanic Society of America) enOUgh tO place it at his disposal. 


4 ' 

: A ' ■■ ' J 


(In the Geological Institute, Zurich) 


(Courtesy of J. Skovbo) 



4 * C: 


The oldest evidence that honey was an important human ob- 
jective is revealed by a prehistoric painting, discovered in 191 9 
at Cuevas de la Arana (Spider Cave), northwest of Bicorp, 
Valencia, Spain. This picture, painted in red, is the most ancient 
work of art known. (Fig. 1.) It originated in the Stone Age when 
man, trying to find shelter from the superabounding beasts, lived 
in caves. The painting is supposed to be about 15,000 years old, 
but as likely as not, it is some thousand years younger or older. 
The time-worn fossil relic is rather primitive but it clearly depicts 
a man climbing up on long ropes, probably woven of sedge grass, 
to a natural hole in the cliff, which the artist evidently intended 
to represent the dwelling of a swarm of wild bees. The man is 
taking honeycombs out of the cavity and putting them into a bag 
or basket. Some disturbed bees around the intruder are painted on 
a scale much larger than that of the human figure. (Obermaier.) 
The ancient origin of Spanish cave pictures is confirmed by the 
fact that many species of animals which are represented in these 
drawings are extinct today. 

Other evidences that honey and wax existed during prehistoric 
eons are the earthenware colanders found in the lake dwellings of 
Switzerland, originating in the Neolithic era. That these vessels 
were employed for straining honey, and possibly also for the utili- 
zation of wax, seems more than a conjecture because the inhabit- 
ants of the Bernese Alps still use similar vessels for these pur- 

Beyond doubt primitive man obtained honey from wild bees 
nesting in hollow trees and rocks, a habit which undomesticated 
bees still pursue. In all probability man cultivated bees as he 
tamed horses, oxen, sheep and dogs, instituting a cooperative 



WE DERIVE our knowledge of the earliest use and im- 
portance of honey in historic times from archives of the an- 
cient cultural states, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, India, Egypt, Greece 
and Rome. The oldest existing scripts corroborate the fact that bees 
were already domesticated creatures and honey was extensively 
used for food, drink, medicine and exclusively for sweetening 
purposes. Honey was an important commodity. Taxes and trib- 
utes were imposed in the form of payments of honey and wax. It 
was equivalent to currency. Today, in the twentieth century, we 
could understand the vital importance of honey in the domestic 
life of bygone ages only if we were forced to relinquish com- 
pletely the use of industrial sugar. This would overload the imag- 
ination of even a most daring dreamer. 

We do not know of any people on earth, including savage 
tribes, who did not cultivate bees for their honey with the excep- 
tion of the native Indians of the Americas and the Australian 
indigenes. Honeybees were unknown to them and they obtained 
their scanty supply of honey from stingless bees. 

Before parchment, paper and writing were invented, pictorial 
engravings on stones conveyed the meaning of human concep- 
tions. Geometric ideography was the first attempt of antiquity to 
express and perpetuate thoughts on lapidary specimens. Animals 
and plants were later objects and finally, anthropomorphic images. 
We find most petroglyphic carvings in Egypt, India, Mexico and 





The most fertile field, in our historical research, for establish- 
ing the singular and paramount role which honey played in the 
social, economic and spiritual life of ancient nations is, unquestion- 
ably, Egypt, the land of Pharaohs. The oldest hieroglyphic carv- 
ings in temples, on sarcophagi and obelisks sufficiently prove that 
bees and honey had a vital significance in the daily life of the 
population of Egypt. These monuments symbolically perpetuate 
bees and their principal product, honey. On the Flamic and 
Pamphilic obelisks (Amada), on the famous Rosetta stone, on the 
pillars of the Temple of Karnak and on the obelisk of Luxor 
(which was erected in 1836 on the Place de la Concorde, Paris), 
we find many images of bees. On the colossal sarcophagus of 
Rameses III (20th Dynasty) in the Musee Louvre, on the sar- 
cophagus of a priest who died during the reign of Psametic I 
(26th Dynasty) and on a granite statue of Rameses II ; there are 
numerous such designs. King Menes, the founder of the First 
Dynasty of Egyptian Kings, the date of whose rule is variously 
given as 4000 to 5000 b.c. (according to Brugsch, 4445 B.C.), was 
called "the Beekeeper." Tony Kellen found some writing on one 
of the Louvre papyri which suggested that it had been a restau- 
rant check and honey was among the food consumed. 

Next to hieroglyphic representations, the wall paintings of the 
royal tombs demonstrate the great national importance of honey. 
There are only a few funeral vaults in which bees and honey are 
not represented pictorially. Honeycombs, honey cakes, sealed jars 
of honey and lotus blooms were placed next to the sarcophagi as 
food for the souls of the dead. (Plate II.) In the tomb of 
Pa-Ba-Sa, in Thebes, the entire wall is decorated by rows of bees. 
A man is shown pouring honey into a pail, another is kneeling and 
praying before a pyramid of honeycombs. (Plate III.) On the 
wall of the tomb of Rekh-Mi-Re all phases of the honey industry 
are depicted ; how the combs were removed from the hives with 
the aid of smoke, the baking of honey cakes, the filling and sealing 
of jars, etc. (Plate IV.) 


From a literary aspect there is little left in Egypt so far as the 
subject is concerned. During the conflagration of 312 B.C., the 
great library of Alexandria was totally destroyed and all its 
treasures and documents were lost. It is remarkable that one of 
their seers predicted this catastrophe when he said: "Oh Egypt 
. . . only unbelievable legends will remain for later generations 
. . . engraved on stones, monuments, obelisks and pyrarnids." 

The Egyptian Papyri, representing the oldest civilization of the 
world, often refer to honey, especially to its medicinal value. 
Almost all Egyptian medicines contained honey, wine and milk. 
Honey sacrifices were offered to the deities. The frequent sym- 
bolical use of bees in Egypt must be attributed not only to the 
fact that honey was an important article of commerce and a valu- 
able food and medicinal substance but to the admiration of the 
Egyptians for the diligence, industry, order, economy, endurance, 
intelligence and courage of the bees and their loyalty to a sov- 
ereign. The bees are the only creatures which are entirely subju- 
gated to a ruler. Next to the signatures of Egyptian kings there 
was a figure of a bee. Apiculture was far advanced in Egypt, like- 
wise in Babylonia and in Assyria. 

The ancient Egyptians were habitual beer drinkers. The land 
was ill-suited to the cultivation of the grape-vine. Xenophon (400 
b.c.) mentions an Egyptian beverage made of wheat, barley and 
honey. On the decline of the Egyptians and the rise of the Greeks 
and Romans, wine made of grapes became a drink of civilization, 


Soulful India was supposed to be not only the cradle of human- 
ity but also the birthplace of the bee. The latter claim was, how- 
ever, contested by both Egypt and Greece. In ancient Indian 
scripts we find scanty information about apiculture. They allude 
to honey and bees more from mythological, poetical, philosophi- 
cal, moral and religious viewpoints. The Rig- Veda, written about 
3000 b.c, often mentions honey. To the population of India 



(Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art) 



DC g 

Pi ^ 


honey represented everything that was sweet and beneficial. The 
Hindu had to turn his right side toward the beehive, as though 
passing a deity. God Krishna was symbolized by a bee and was 
called madhava, born in honey. The Hindu believed that who- 
ever ate honey would become strong, rich, happy and wise and 
that it would improve not only his own looks but would influence 
even his offspring. 

In India, due to the fertility of the soil and the abundance of 
water and sunlight, the animals and plants are the largest on 
earth. The bees are no exception. Apis dorsata, the giant bee of 
India, builds enormous combs, often six feet square, suspended 
from the highest trees, hanging rocks and other inaccessible places 
to gain protection from man and beast. The combs are visible 
from a distance of miles. Special honey hunters approach the 
nests with ladders and ropes, usually at night time, to collect their 
plentiful harvest.* 

Honey had a popular use in India as a food and medicine and 
in the preparation of alcoholic drinks. The Hindus drank mad- 
hwparka y a mixture of honey and curds, during religious ceremo- 
nies with the toast: "I drink thee for luck, glory, power, and for 
the enjoyment of food." 


In China, the home of sugar-cane, honey was used less than in 
any other country. There was no need of honey as a sweetening 
substance because cane-juice was plentiful. The Chinese did not 
cultivate bees for this reason. Besides, the bees caused consider- 
able damage to sugar plantations and also plundered the syrup 
during 'the process of extraction. Honey was used by the Chinese 
more as a medicinal substance and a complement to diets. In the 
interior of China, even today, honey can be obtained only in old- 
style medicine shops. Mi-tsao or honey-jujube is a popular con- 

*Apis indica, the "hive-bee" of India and of China, is not only smaller in 
size than our honeybee but is somewhat different in behavior. 


fection in China. It is made from honey and jujuba (Zizyphus 
vulgaris), a red fruit shaped like a date. The Chinese often mix 
their opium with honey. 


The solemn and prominent part honey played in the history of 
Greece is conclusively proven by its mythology. Ambrosia, the 
food, and nectar, the drink of the gods, were made of honey. The 
Iliad (XI. 630) refers to honey as the food of kings. The honey 
of Mt. Hymettus was a daily food of Athens. This mountain was 
covered with odoriferous wild flowers, principally thyme, and the 
air was scented with the fragrance of the blooms. The bees were 
partial to these hills. (It is singular that the population of ancient 
Greece, a maritime country far excellence, as fond as they were 
of honey, utterly neglected sea-food. Homer in the Iliad never 
mentions fish; in the Odyssey, Menelaus complains that he and 
his men were so hungry that they were compelled to eat fish.) 

Ancient Attica, with its area of forty square miles, recorded 
twenty thousand hives during the time of Pericles (429 B.C.). All 
ancient Greek authors praised the medicinal and nutrimental value 
of Attic honey, "the crowning dish of all feasts." The oldest ruins 
in the rural districts of Greece are buildings which originally 
housed the hives. These stone edifices were built high, to outwit 
the cunning of the bears, arch enemies of bees and bosom friends 
of honey. 


In the ancient Roman Empire honey was in great abundance. 
All Mediterranean states surrounding this glorious sea were veri- 
table honey-lands. During the second Punic War (218-201 B.C.), 
apiculture was already flourishing. Honey production was prac- 
ticed at a much earlier date in Greece and the art was conveyed 
by the Phoenicians and early Greek settlers to the Italian penin- 


Virgil, the poet laureate of bees, was the greatest glorifier of 
honey. Book IV of Georgics is a panegyric on "heaven-born" 
honey. Protinus ceril mellis caelestia dona exsequar, is the first line 
of Georgics (next I sing of honey, the heavenly ethereal gift). 
Virgil often bepraises even in the Aeneid the "sweet-scented honey, 
fragrant with thyme." 

Pliny in the Xlth book of his Historia Naturalis devotes many 
chapters to honey, "which the bees collect from the sweet juices 
of flowers, so beneficial to health." From Pliny's very voluminous 
works (thirty-seven books) we derive much information. This 
most prolific writer, who quotes no less than twenty-five hundred 
authors, had great admiration for honey and assembled all the 
Egyptian, Greek and Latin knowledge on the subject. Pliny also 
describes the contemporary honey industry in Italy, in old Ger- 
mania and in the British Isles during the Roman invasion. Pliny 
refers to eight-feet long "honey-slabs", brought from Alemannia. 
All other Latin writers speak in high terms of bees and honey. 
Cicero remarks in De Senectute that he considers the successful 
production of honey essential to good farming and describes how 
the slaves collected wild honey in the forests. Foods and drinks, 
mixed with honey, were seldom missing on the daily menus of 
ancient Rome.* It was a courteous act of the Romans to offer a 
respected guest some honey, fresh from the hives. The host wel- 
comed his visitors with the words: "Here is honey which God 
provided for your health." Snails destined for the royal tables 
were fattened and sweetened with honey. 


Pliny quoted the reports of ancient voyagers, who found in the 
present BRITISH ISLES a honey-brew which was freely consumed 
by the Islanders. This was long before the Roman conquest of 
the Islands, so the assumption that bee culture was introduced 
into England by the Romans is erroneous. Undoubtedly, apicul- 

* Mulsum, four-fifths wine and one-fifth honey, was a favorite drink of the 
Romans. Hydromel, which is really mead, was used as a medicine. 


ture was of vital importance in the Roman Empire, because its 
triumphant armies, when invading foreign territories, carried their 
beehives with them. The Britons must have broadened their 
knowledge of bee-craft during the Roman invasion. 

That beekeeping was an outstanding pursuit among the Britons 
is illustrated by Tickner Edwardes' graphic account in his delight- 
ful book, The Lore of the Honey-Bee. "Among the Anglo- 
Saxons the beehives supplied the whole nation, from the king 
down to the poorest serf, not only with an important part of their 
food but with drink and light as well. . . . Britain was known 
among the early Druid bards as the Isle of Honey." (The Honey 
Isle of Beli was another bardic name for Britain.) 

"British History begins" — Edwardes continues — "with the rec- 
ord of the first voyage of the Phoenicians, who adventuring far- 
ther than any other of their intrepid race, chanced upon the Scilly 
Isles and the neighbouring coast of Cornwall and thence brought 
back their first cargo of tin. The whereabouts of the Phoenician 
'Barat-Anac', The Country of Tin, remained a secret probably for 
ages, jealously guarded by these ancient mariners, the first true 
seamen that the world had ever known. They were expert navi- 
gators, venturing enormous distances overseas, even in King 
Solomon's time, and that was a thousand years before the advent 
of Caesar. In all likelihood, they had been in frequent communi- 
cation with the Britons, centuries before the Greeks took to search- 
ing for this wonderful tin-bearing land, and still longer before the 
name Barat-Anac became corrupted into the Britannia of the 
Romans. And it is hardly to be supposed that a people of so ancient 
a civilization, and of so great a repute in the sciences and refine- 
ments of life, as the Phoenicians — a people from whom the early 
Greeks themselves had learned the art and practice of letters — 
could remain in touch, century after century, with a nation like 
the Britons without effecting in them enormous improvement and 
development in every way that would appeal to so high-mettled 
and competent a race." 

Honey must have been abundant in the British Isles, another 
veritable land of milk and honey. The Welsh and Celtic legends 


teem with references to sparkling mead and honey drinks. The 
chief Irish God, Manannan, praised the island-paradise (Isle of 
Man), where: 

Rivers pour forth a stream of honey 
In the land of Manannan, son of Ler 

Abundant there are honey and wine, 
Death and decay thou wilt not see. 

Tributes were paid with mead and honey and the laws fixed the 
amount which had to be delivered to the chieftains. The measures 
which the laws mention (Brehon Law Tracts) prove that honey 
must have been plentiful: A milch-cow measure of honey could 
be lifted by an average individual up to his knees ; a large heifer 
measure of honey one could raise to the waist; a small heifer , to 
the shoulder; and a dairt, over one's head. The shell of an egg 
was also used to measure smaller quantities of honey; twelve of 
these equaled about a pint. 

There is frequent mention that the ancient Britons used honey 
for cooking and baking. Meat and fish were often cooked in honey, 
and they mixed their porridge with it. The principal use of honey 
was, however, in the preparation of alcoholic drinks. 

From most ancient times merrie England was drenched in ale. 
Unquestionably it was their national drink. The ale-wife, depicted 
with two cups in her hands, so gloriously immortalized, was the 
symbol, of old English inns. (Plate V.) Ale was considered a 
wholesome liquor which supported the natural heat and moisture 
of the body and "there is no drink which conduceth more to the 
preservation of one and the increase of the other than Ale." While 
the English drank ale they were strong, brawny and able men and 
"could draw an arrow an ell long but when they fell to wine and 
beer, they were found to be impaired in strength and age." 

The old Saxon ale or mead was not a malt liquor but "made 
from honey or the washing of the honeycombs." The name ale 


came into the English language during the Panish invasion of 
England and was derived from the Danish word "6l"J The mead 
or meth of the Norse and Teutonic forefathers was made of 
honey. The big and burly gods with prodigious droughtiness and 
appetite indulged in a copious supply of strong mead which never 
failed. The Valkyries, the tall and beautiful maidens, were the 
modern barmaids. \ 

Mead held its^sway in old England at least for a thousand 
years. The Anglo-Saxon forebears indulged generously in mead, 
a habit they seem to have inherited from the Teutonic heroes. 
These chieftains were accused of gluttony and drunkenness and of 
going to battle drunk with mead, "bringing about the ruin of 

"Hop-drinks" were introduced into England by the Flemish 
immigrants. Hop was considered for a long time as an adulterant 
and the "wicked weed" was checked by legislation, even prohib- 
ited because it not only "spoilt the taste of the drink but endan- 
gered the lives of the people." A century of industrial progress 
in manufacturing beer undoubtedly improved its quality. Wine 
always was, and still is considered the "beverage of the rich." The 
whiskey of the Irish and the Scotch invaded England only at a 
very late date. 

The Saxon "beor" meant mead (beo = bee) and the term 
"beer" was undoubtedly derived from it. On many old English 
inns we find the sign of a beehive often accompanied by some 
rhyme. (Plate V.) At Grantham, which boasts of a three hun- 
dred foot high steeple, there is a real beehive set up before the 
inn with the following inscription: 

"Stop! Traveller, this wondrous sign explore, 
And say when thou hast viewed it o'er, 
Grantham, now, two rarities are thine, 
A lofty steeple and a living sign." 

Before a Birmingham inn there is the verse: 


"In this hive we all are alive, 
Good liquor makes us funny! 
If you be dry, step in and try 
The value of our honey." 


In Germany, honey production has always been an outstanding 
and favorite occupation. Few nations have studied the economy 
and management of bees more thoroughly than the Germans. 
Possibly this has contributed to their far-famed thrift. 

Forest apiculture preceded everywhere the cultivation of bees 
by cottagers and farmers. German apiculture must have been far 
advanced before the invasion of the Romans, the emissaries of 
continental culture. Pytheas and Massilia (after whom Marseilles 
was named), contemporaries of Alexander the Great, described 
that on a journey of exploration they found meth (honey-wine, 
often mentioned in the Niebelungen Saga) excessively used in old 
Alemannia, and that the inhabitants covered their bread with 
honey. The record in itself proves that honey must have been in 
great abundance. And this was four hundred years before the 
Christian era. Pliny's reference to the enormous honeycombs of 
Germania would indicate that they were removed from hollow 
tree-trunks. There are many traces among the ancient laws of 
Germany that litigations concerning honey production and espe- 
cially swarming were quite frequent. Special tribunals adjudged 
these disputes. 

Charlemagne in his famous "Capitulares Karlomanni" gave strict 
orders pertaining to honey industry. Chapter V described honey, 
mead and wax in minutest details. Chapter XX directed the popu- 
lation to take an inventory every year of their honey and mead 
supply. Upon the introduction of Christianity, honey production 
increased greatly in Germany on account of the demand for wax 
for church candles. Monasteries were invariably cultivators of 
bees. Mead must also have been plentiful, judging from an ancient 
record that a fire in Meissen, on the Upper-Elba, in 1015, was 


extinguished with mead because the inhabitants were short of 

Land-rule (dominium) was universal in Germany and the 
phrase in signwm vel recognitionem dominii (in mark and ac- 
knowledgment of land-rule) was a traditional expression. The 
lands were mainly owned by princes and the Church. Those who 
lived in such lands were obliged to pay taxes in honey and wax. 
Honey and wax were considered royal or princely gifts and re- 
ligious people freely contributed them to the Church. 

The German honey industry was closely associated with the 
Liineburger Heide. These plains of stormy historical background 
have been a real paradise of bees and the favorite topic of German 
poets. The province of Hanover in which these plains are located 
is famous for its honey. The level land, covered with primitive 
vegetation, mainly heather, is unusually rich in nectar. This sec- 
tion of the country has been preserved in a wild state by the bees 
and its primitive beauty is under their protection. Few men and 
beasts ever approach the localities, fearing the proverbial anger of 
these insects. Usually a narrow path leads to the beestands; a 
beaten track made by the bee-fathers for the collection of honey. 

The honey market of Breslau, on Maundy Thursday, was fa- 
mous for centuries, and the day is celebrated even now with 
festivities. There were many mead breweries in Munich, Ulm on 
the Danube, Danzig, Riga, etc. According to old documents, "the 
judge sat in court with a jug of mead before him, so filled to the 
brim that a fly could drink from its border." 

Honey production suffered a noticeable decline at the end of the 
sixteenth and beginning of the seventeenth centuries due to the 
Thirty Years' War. It was neglected for many years before and 
after this long conflict. Germany also suffered a similar setback 
during the World War. It is noteworthy that in the course of the 
same period, beekeeping made a great advance in the United 
States and Great Britain. 


— -x 


fe S 





x '3 
h ft 



With the possible exception of the Germans and the Slavic 
races, there are only a few nations on the European continent who 
held honey in higher esteem than the French. The French re- 
garded it as a life-giving substance much the same as bread and 
milk. Their folklore, fables, laws and religious customs give evi- 
dence of the importance of honey in the daily life of the nation. 

Historical records substantiate the fact that beekeeping was a 
foremost industry in France. The ancient Barons derived consid- 
erable revenue from taxes imposed upon beehives. The lords of 
the land were permitted to collect tax from the people who hunted 
for honey in their forests and, at a later period, from those who 
cultivated bees there. A certain proportion of honey and wax had 
to be relinquished by the vassals. The French Government also 
imposed taxes on beehives. In 1 79 1, when the government de- 
manded from the prefects of the provinces an exact record of 
hives, the population, fearing an additional tax, destroyed their 
hives in preference to paying higher taxes. After that, for a long 
time, apiculture was wholly neglected in France. 

The taxation of beekeeping in France was not solely a medieval 
custom. A fairly recent fiscal legislation (1934) imposes a tax on 
beehives. According to this new law, if a beekeeper feeds his bees 
on his own property he is assessed with a tax on agricultural prod- 
ucts j but if his bees feed on the grounds of his neighbors the tax 
is higher because the revenue classes as non-commercial business. 
[The revenue collectors must have a difficult time keeping their 
eyes on the bees, to ascertain whether they remain at home or pay 
business or social calls.] 

The Island of CORSICA, comprising 3790 square miles, had 
to pay 200,000 pounds of wax as a yearly tribute to the Romans, 
which means that they produced at least three million pounds of 
honey. HOLLAND, especially Friesland, had several thousand hives 
to the square mile. SPAIN teemed with beehives. Ex-King Alfonso 


was an ardent bee lover and was keenly interested in apiculture. 
In the park of the royal palace he had about a thousand colonies 
of bees and many more hives on his country estates. The leading 
apiculturist of Spain, Antonio Garay Victoria, had 1500 colonies 
on his estate in Claveria. 


The ancient Roman province of Pannonia, which consisted of 
Hungary, Austria, Slavonia, Styria, Croatia, Bosnia, etc., was an- 
other veritable honey-land. The prevalence of bees along the 
Danube is verified by the statement of Herodotus (484 b.c.) who 
remarked that at certain intersections it was impossible to cross 
the river on account of bees. The Turks used beehives to thwart 
hostile crossings of the Danube. 

Hungary always was and still is an Eldorado of bees. Priscus, 
who in 448 a.d. traversed Hungary with the Greek emissaries 
sent to King Attila, reported that he was liberally provided there 
with mead. Historical records show that the population of Hun- 
gary had to supply the monasteries with honey and wax. The blind 
king, Bela II (1138 a.d.), donated sixty beekeepers to an Abbey 
to attend the hives. One Palatinate produced as much as ten thou- 
sand barrels of mead. The redolent acacia honey of Hungary has 
always been considered one of the finest in the world. 


In Austria, both Upper and Lower, likewise in Salzburg, Tyrol, 
Voralberg, Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and in the other former 
provinces of Istria, Dalmatia, Galicia and Bukowina, beekeeping 
was an important industry. There were many apicultural schools 
and societies with frequent meetings and festivals. All members 
of the Imperial house of Hapsburg, since the reign of the great 
Empress Maria Theresa, who founded the Apicultural College in 
Vienna (1769), were enthusiastic supporters of apiculture and 
lovers of honey. 



All Slavic races were partial to honey production. They used 
honey freely on their bread, mixed it with curds and butter, 
employed it in baking and in the preparation of alcoholic drinks. 
The Russians and Poles were experts in making hot honey drinks, 
and there are many popular winter beverages on the European 
continent which originated in Russia. The Poles were reputed to 
be the brewers of finest mead. 

The Slavs were widely disseminated over Eastern, Southeastern 
and Central Europe and Asia. The Russians, Poles, Ruthenians, 
Serbs, Croatians, Lithuanians, Czechs, Moravians, Slovaks, 
Wends, Bosnians, Montenegrins and Slovens were all ardent bee- 
lovers. The old Prussians and Silesians belonged originally to 
Slavic races but were later absorbed by the ancient Teutons who 
inherited the Slavic fondness for honey. The Slavic interbreeding 
with the Hungarians, the Bulgarians, the Northern Finnish and 
Tartar races spread this lickerish tendency among the respective 

Poland was especially rich in honey. Gallus, who explored 
Poland in the eleventh century, remarked fane et came et melle 
satis est coposa (there is plenty of bread, meat and honey) and 
stated further ubi aer salubris, ager fertilis, silva melliflua (where 
the air is salubrious, the fields are fertile and the forests flow with 
honey). One of their beekeepers, Piast, who treated the royal 
electors with mead which never diminished, was elected king and 
his descendants ruled over Poland for several centuries. In the 
fourteenth century, Poland sold honey in foreign markets which 
yielded millions of florins in export duties to the royal treasury. 

Of Poland we read many fantastic tales, in themselves an indi- 
cation of the enormous honeycombs which filled hollow trees in 
the forests. William Harrison, in Holinshed's Chronicles (1577), 
mentions (III, Ch. 4) that in Poland the honeycombs were so 
great and abundant that huge bears fell into them and were 
drowned before they could recover and find a means of escape. 



As already mentioned, there were only two continents on our 
globe where the honeybee was non-existent, the Americas and 
Australia. When John Eliot translated the Bible into the language 
of the North American aborigines he could not even find expres- 
sive terms in their phraseology for honey and wax. 

Previous to the importation of the German bees (brown or 
black), there were, however, other honey-collecting bees in the 
Americas, such as the stingless bees (Trigonae and Meliponae), 
the size of domestic flies, which occasionally bite like ants and 
then rub their poison of rancid odor into the wound. Columbus 
found their honey and wax in abandoned huts. The South Amer- 
icans call them "Angelitos", little angels, because they do not 
sting. They nest, as a rule, in the hollows of dead trees, but occa- 
sionally make their own hives in the ground or attached to the 
branches of trees. There are evidences that the Indians cultivated 
them and supplied them with wooden logs and earthenware jars 
in which to nest. 

The honey which these stingless bees produce is rather thin but 
of an agreeable aromatic odor; the natives even prefer it to the 
honey of the white man's "stinging fly" and attribute greater 
remedial value to it. The combs are not as regular as those of the 
honeybee; they form an irregular mass of cells but are occasion- 
ally hexagon shaped. 

That honey had an important part in the lives of the natives 
before the discovery of America is proven by the ancient Mayan 
and Aztec codices. The conquered tribes had to pay tributes of 
honey. The Codex Mendoza lists the tributes of seven hundred 
pottery jars of honey paid to Montezuma, the Aztec emperor of 
Mexico. Some of the sacred books mention that the conquering 
heroes permitted the defeated tribes to pursue pottery making and 
beekeeping, apparently two of their most important occupations. 
Many hieroglyphic carvings represent bees and honeycombs, and 
human figures carrying on their backs large jars, containing honey, 
as a tribute. (Fig. 2.) 

, In the Executive R :om of the Union League Club 
(Courtesy of Union League Club of the City of New York) 




fig. 2. Mexican Vase. 

Gatherer of wild honey. 

(Courtesy Hispanic Society of 
A merica) 

Honey was unquestionably used as a 
food and for the preparation of intoxi- 
cating beverages. The Mexican mead 
(acan) was probably not unlike the 
mead of other nations. It is mentioned 
that it was health-giving and intoxicat- 
ing, similar to the drinks made of 
pulque. The Mexican Indians had their 
bee-gods to whom they prayed for 
plenty of honey. There are several folk 
tales of the South American Indians 
connected with hunting for wild honey 
which are remarkably similar to those 
of the Russians, the Hindus, the 
African and East Indian natives. (See 
page 196.) 

Honeybees (Apis Mellifica) were 
brought to the American Continent by the Spanish, Dutch and 
English settlers at the end of the seventeenth century. In Mexico 
they were domesticated much earlier than in the United States. 
We find f the first traces of bees in the United States in Boston in 
1644, where they were imported by the English. A hurricane 
carried them over the Alleghany Mountains. Their tendency to 
migrate southward was very expressed. The bees found a new 
home in the United States in much the same manner as did the 
European settlers. 

Toward the second half of the eighteenth century ( 1 764) the 
bees were taken from Spanish Florida to Cuba, where, however, 
they did not remain very long. The planters soon annihilated 
them because they robbed the sugar-canes. The bees rapidly multi- 
plied in Cuba. M. Montelle {Choix de Lectures Geogra-phlques 
et Historiques, Tome 5, Part II) says, in speaking of the island 
of Cuba: "When the Floridas were ceded in 1763 by Spain to 
England, the five or six hundred miserable beings who vegetated 
in those regions, took refuge in Cuba, and carried with them some 
Bees: these useful insects repaired to the forests, established them- 


selves in the hollows of old trees, and multiplied with a celerity 
which appeared incredible. The hives yield four crops every year 
and the swarms succeed each other without interruption." Don 
Ulloa in Philosophical and Historical Memoirs, concerning the 
discovery by Spain, also refers to bees: "These insects multiplied 
to such a degree, that they spread to the mountains and were 
prejudicial to the sugar-canes, on which they fed. Their fecundity 
was so great that a hive yielded a swarm and sometimes two in a 
month. The wax is uncommonly white and the honey of perfect 
transparency and of exquisite taste." In the Barbadoes, the bees 
did not visit flowers but lived in the midst of sugar refineries. In 
Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand the bees made their 
appearance around 1840, in Brazil in 1848, and in Chile and Peru 
only in 1857. 


In the United States, the honeybees spread very rapidly. The 
American Indians looked upon them as the harbingers of mis- 
fortune. It seems as though they were right, and the prophecy was 
well-grounded. Longfellow referred to it in "Hiawatha": 

"Wheresoe'er they move, before them 
Swarms the stinging fly, the Ahmo, 
Swarms the Bee, the honey-maker; 
Wheresoe'er they tread, beneath them 
Springs a flower unknown among us, 
Springs the White Man's Foot in blossom." * 

The Indians called the bees the "white man's flies" or "English 
flies." They were the heralds of American civilization, and when 
the Indians perceived a swarm in the forest they shouted: "The 
pale-faced intruders are coming, they will soon be here!" The 
bees swiftly covered the West. Washington Irving remarked that 
in the proportion that the bees advanced, the Indians and the 
buffaloes retired. {Tour in the Prairies?) 

* White clover. 


The bees spread in swarms from the Atlantic Coast toward the 
Pacific. The old settlers recorded the time when bees first crossed 
the Mississippi. The West was a real paradise for these nectar- 
seeking insects, another veritable land of promise. William Cullen 
Bryant vividly described the seething activity of the bee in the 
new country, where she — 

"Fills the Savannahs with her murmurings, 
And hides her sweets, as in the golden age, 
Within the hollow oak. I listen long 
To her domestic hum, and think I hear 
The sound of that advancing multitude, 
Which soon shall fill the deserts." 

The first honeybees were taken to California in March, 1853. 
They flourished in the Santa Clara valley, sending off as many as 
three swarms during the first season. How highly valued they 
were is best proven by the fact that during the settlement of the 
estate of a land owner, named Shelton, who had been killed, two 
colonies of bees were sold at auction for $105 and $110, respec- 
tively. It is recorded that four swarms were imported to Califor- 
nia from the East Coast in 1859. The hives were placed in the 
rear of covered wagons. The pioneers occasionally stopped to 
allow the bees to hover about the flower-pastures within their 
reach, until darkness, when the hives were again closed. 

The West, especially California, as described by Muir, was one 
sweet bee garden, from the snowy Sierras to the ocean, where the 
"bee-flowers" bloomed in lavish abundance. Plows and sheep 
made a sad havoc of these glorious pastures, destroying like wild- 
fire tens of thousands of flowery acres, and banishing many species 
of the best honey plants, for which loss cultivation so far has given 
no adequate compensation. The rich primeval soil of the United 
States was covered with thick forests, profuse vegetation and wild 
flowers. The settlers, however, lumbered the forests, slaughtered 
wild animals, tilled the soil, destroyed the surface moisture and 
created droughts by offsetting the equilibrium of Nature's forces. 


They worked the land for all it was worth and planted, instead of 
soil-building, soil-depleting crops. The recent formation of the 
Western, so-called dust-bowl, seems to be a "vendetta" of the 

The bees preferred the woods to comfortable hives. Forests 
provided them with shelter, food and good protection against the 
elements, the cold of winter and the heat of summer ; against 
rains and storms and, besides, kept their treasures concealed. They 
made a nest in any suitable place. Muir told how a friend of his, 
hunting in the San Joaquin valley, sat down on a coon-trap to 
rest, but soon was surrounded by an angry crowd of bees. He 
discovered that he had been sitting upon their hive which con- 
tained over two hundred pounds of honey. 

Contemporary newspapers related how bees also made their 
nests in abandoned houses. When the old Hawes homestead in 
Yarmouth, Mass., which had sheltered many generations of Cape 
Cod people, was doomed to be torn down, the workmen could not 
approach the ruins because the bees resented their intrusion and 
the demolishing had to be postponed until cold weather set in. 
The walls of the building were found to be solidly packed with 
honeycombs and hundreds of pounds of honey were removed. , 

Bees have always suffered from drought. During the famine of 
the dry year 1877, it 1S sa id that the fate of the bees was the sad- 
dest of all. In Los Angeles and San Diego counties, one-half to 
three-fourths of the bees perished from sheer starvation. Not less 
than eighteen thousand colonies were lost in these two counties 
alone, and in others the loss was equally as great. The latest disas- 
trous droughts and floods in the United States played havoc 
among the bees. 

Next to successive droughts and floods there is a new danger 
brought on by civilization, which lurks behind apiculture, namely, 
the indiscriminate use of poisonous dust and liquid sprays which 
commercial airplanes broadcast to protect the orchards and other 
plantations from injurious insects. This practice is daily increasing 
in the West and in some Eastern States. In one county of Cali- 


fornia alone there were seventeen pilots licensed in 1936 to 
engage in pest control. 

The arsenical sprays drift to large areas, partly spread by the 
propellers of the airplanes, partly by the velocity of air currents. 
The destructive poisons often drift three to five miles from the 
places over which they are applied. This is dangerous not only to 
the bees but also to livestock and to public health. If the poison 
does not kill older bees, the tainted pollen which they carry into 
the hives will destroy the brood. This high-pressure application of 
sprays and dusters (3000 to 5000 pounds at a time) is a dan- 
gerous practice. The benefits which are derived from this pro- 
cedure may be outweighed by the loss of the pollinating services 
of bees, besides a great decrease in honey production. It is note- 
worthy that so far not a single instance has been found of any of 
the arsenic getting into the honey. 

Among the Southern States, Texas was another "land flowing 
with milk and honey." To quote J. Taylor Allen {Early Pioneer 
Days of Texas), "Honey Grove (Texas) derived its name from 
the immense number of bee trees of richest honey; deposited in 
every hollow tree, and sometimes in the tangled down weeds and 
grass. David Crockett and my father W. B. Allen and his pioneer 
comrades found here honey in abundance in the early days of 
Texas. Oh, what happy, indescribable times we would have if we 
could find such country again, but gone forever. . . . Honey Grove 
— let the name perpetuate the meaning that its name implies; a 
grove where industry, economy, enterprise and perseverance shall 
be perpetuated. It is said that Davy Crockett and his men, those 
illustrious Texan heroes, camped here a week on their way to that 
world-famed Alamo, and fed on the honey that gave them the 
joy of Service and Zeal for their country's cause. ... I cannot 
refrain from paying tribute to the industrious bees. How diligently 
they gather and economically store during the season of labor that 
they may have plenty in the storehouses in the winter. What a 
lesson to us the bees give, teaching us the need for industry, thrift 
and economy, using our God-given talent while it is day and lay- 


ing in store for the day when our work is done. . . . Nor shall I 
forget the nectar of the gods, the honey furnished us by the indus- 
trious honey bee, the most wonderful insect in God's creation, 
flitting from flower to flower, extracting here a little and there a 
little and gathering the sweetest of all sweets. If there is anything 
I like better than honey it is . . . more honey." 

During the Civil War, soldiers carried off beehives. (Plate VI.) 


In American folklore, young as it is, we find many tales which 
reflect on honey. H. B. Parks, in "The Lost Honey Mines in 
Texas", Southwest Review, (1930. 16.) remarks: "The best place 
and time to hear honey-cave stories is some bee-yard in the 
chaparral of Southwest Texas, when the extracting crew is resting 
around the campfire after a hard day's work. From the prevalence 
and absurdity of the legends, however, it is safe to infer that they 
are of long standing." 

"The tales of bee-caves have much in common with stories about 
lost mines," Parks continues. . . . The mouths of the caves were 
supposed to be guarded by huge rattlesnakes, vicious bats, scor- 
pions j occasionally, by ghosts. Usually, as the story goes, some 
surveyor entered the cave about thirty years ago and reported 
vast rooms filled with honey in pure white combs. Often a well- 
driller in the vicinity has passed, they say, through just thirty feet 
of honey and wax. And someone can always (for a certain con- 
sideration and not otherwise) show you the location of the cave. 

The Story of Bee Mountain, as described by Parks, is very 
popular. It was disclosed to two boys by a cowpuncher who was 
well acquainted with the mountain and who had procured plenty 
of honey there himself. According to the informant, this mountain 
was a hollow hill, conical in shape and several thousand feet in 
height. On one side was an opening; and if the searchers could 
have used sulphur fumes, sufficiently strong to stupefy the bees, 
they might have entered the interior of the mountain, where 
hundreds and thousands of pounds of honey were suspended from 
the roof. There was also a rumor afloat that some boys had at- 


tempted to invade it, but they were frightened away by Cherokee 

Another story, according to Parks, was told by a man who could 
remember that during his early childhood Indians would come 
after every wet spring to obtain honey from bees living in colo- 
nies, attached to the undersurface of a wide projecting rock at the 
top of a nearby cliff, some seventy feet above the bed of a river. 
The Indians reached the honey by splicing together mesquite 
poles. Then some light Indian would climb the pole and the 
others would move it from place to place, while the Indian aloft 
lowered the honeycombs by means of a rope and a grass sack. 
Once a group of hostile Indians came to gather some honey, and 
after they had obtained all they desired, turned on the white 
settlers and killed many of them. Mr. Parks visited Bee Moun- 
tain several years ago, and counted some three hundred colonies 
of bees attached to an overhanging rock. At the base of the bluff 
were the remains of hundreds of pieces of mesquite poles, for- 
merly parts of ladders used probably by the Indians. 

"Bee Cave up Blanco" seems to be famous everywhere except 
along the Blanco River. An old hunter said that one man in his 
party had climbed to the mouth of a great cave along the banks of 
the river. On arriving at the opening, he was completely covered by 
thousands of bees and he was saved from being stung to death 
only by his heavy clothing. He was able to drive the bees from 
his eyes just long enough to obtain a glimpse of the cave, where 
he beheld a solid wall of white honeycombs. The man later re- 
turned with a companion, and with the aid of smoke and the light 
of torches the hunters were enabled to enter this gigantic hive. 
They were approaching beautiful sheets of honeycombs when a 
warning note caused them to look to the floor of the cave. Horri- 
fied, they discovered that they were standing at the edge of what 
appeared to be a solid mass of wriggling, twisting rattlesnakes. 
The hunters, by quick movement, regained the entrance in safety. 

Another famous bee cave, Parks continues, is reported to be 
located very close to the City of San Marcos, in the side of a cliff. 
The entire rock composing the bluff is full of holes and this is the 


home, not only of an immense colony of bees, but also of many 
snakes, rattlesnakes being predominant. According to the story, a 
group of men tried to open a hole in the side of this bluff. The 
leader said that he had been assured that there were hundreds of 
pounds of honey and beeswax in the cave, and he felt certain that 
this treasure could be obtained with the aid of a patented smoke 
gun which he possessed. Carrying the famous smoke gun and a 
lantern, one of the members explored the cave to a depth of sev- 
eral thousands of feet. He returned with the report that enormous 
amounts of honey and wax were almost at their finger tips. The 
exploring company tried to enlarge the opening, but as soon as- 
they commenced to pound on the rock, snakes began to issue from 
every little hole in the face of the bluff, and, while no one was 
hurt, the sight was so terrible that the men fled and no amount 
of hidden treasure could induce them to return. 

The bee cave in the Davis Mountains is another place that can 
be "easily" approached. The opening is as large as the doorway 
of an immense cathedral. With proper protection a person can 
enter the cave and is at once astonished by the curtainlike sheets 
of honeycomb which hang from the ceiling. As far as one pene- 
trates into the cave this white honeycomb extends, one sheet right 
after another. The terrible thing about the cave, however, is super- 
natural. The first thing that attracts the attention of the explorer 
is the fact that he is standing in the midst of dozens of human 
skeletons. If he proceeds, he feels a sudden chill in the atmosphere 
and something seems to take hold of him in such a way that he 
cannot move farther inward, although he can see nothing to stop 
him. If the adventurer does not heed the warning and tries to go 
still farther, he is crushed by an unknown force and falls dead 
to the floor. Should his companions attempt to remove the body, 
they, too, are stricken with death and add to this pile of grim 
reminders of the force which protects the honey bees of the Davis 
Mountains. (All these stories are somewhat reminiscent of the 
legend about the four Greeks, who tried to plunder the grotto of 

The cave up the Nueces is thought to be located in the face of 


a cliff some thousand feet in height. During the spring season, to 
one standing on the top of the bluff, the bees going and coming 
from the mouth of the cave resemble a great stream of smoke; 
and the hum of their wings is so loud that the roar can be heard 
for miles. According to the story, thirty years ago a surveyor dis- 
covered a second entrance and, making a torch of his coat, went 
into the cave, protected by the smoke of the burning garment. He 
passed through room after room filled with long white sheets of 
purest guajillo honey, and estimated that the cave contained sev- 
eral million pounds. Some of the combs were at least fifty feet 
from top to bottom. Before the surveyor had time to make the 
proper preparations to remove the honey, he fell sick and died. 
Just before his death, he called a doctor and gave him a map 
showing the entrance to the bee cave. A story was current in San 
Antonio some five or six years ago that this map was on sale for 
$500. A second version is that a ranchman living near this 
canyon had a well drained for water. Some fifty feet down, the 
drill-bit entered a cavity, and when a sand bucket was substituted 
for the rock-bit, honey and beeswax were brought up in great 
quantities. The cavity was thirty feet from top to bottom. 

Another story, Parks relates, is that of an old beekeeper and 
former cowboy, "Jones," who said that up the Nueces canyon the 
whole wall was filled with bees. With a companion, he planned 
to take advantage of the bees, and to become rich by selling honey. 
"Jones" and his friend bought a blacksmith's bellows and made 
a machine, which they mounted on a sled, for blowing sulphur 
fumes. A honey extractor was placed on another sled. The men 
then bought two colonies of bees and several burros. When the 
cave-bees had finished gathering the spring crop of honey, 
"Jones" and a curious caravan set out for the canyon. At the mouth 
of the canyon, the party made camp. The next day they pushed 
the smoke engine as far as the first bee cave, fired it up, and 
pumped the fumes into the skeleton rock that guarded the honey. 
After a hard day's work, the bees in this cave were all killed. That 
night, two colonies of bees in hives were placed in front of the 
cave. The next day these hive-bees worked overtime, stealing the 


honey from the cave. In the evening, "Jones" and his companion, 
as the story goes, extracted three hundred pounds of honey which 
they had secured with the aid of these two colonies. Elated by the 
success of the scheme, they sent for more colonies. By the use of 
the smoke-machine and by moving from cave to cave, the men 
were soon keeping a regular line of burros busy carrying honey to 
the city and returning with empty cans. The bees worked so hard 
that the colonies had to be replaced every two weeks. Unfortu- 
nately winter put an end to this performance. 

Honey caves have been the object of many expeditions, Parks 
concludes. Such quests for hidden sweets were often broached by 
country-boys, generally without definite plan or reliable informa- 
tion, except that someone had told of a bee cave somewhere, and 
they were determined to get the honey. The stories that have 
appeared in the papers are among the most marvelous pieces of 
misinformation ever read. It is to be said in defense of the credu- 
lity of these seekers after the rumored treasure houses that there 
are holes in the rocks, and crevices in the bluffs, where honey bees 
have lived for years and each year a certain amount of honey and 
wax is secured from such locations. 

John Taylor Allen alludes to the affluence of honey in the State 
of Texas: "The wonderful tales told of honey and the honey bee 
may seem exaggerated but no tale can exaggerate the abundance 
of honey that was to be found right here in Texas in the early 
days. What sweet, happy days we had cutting bee trees and eating 
the rich wild honey spread over our buttered biscuits, . . . We had 
a bountiful supply the whole year around — combed honey, 
strained honey and candied honey." 

Wild bee cave tales are very much in vogue in Texas. Dr. 
Phillips of Cornell related a story about a man who, some years 
ago, came North from Texas with a most impressive story con- 
nected with huge accumulations of honey — which our man firmly 
believed — and who used all his efforts to interest prominent bee- 
keepers in the promotion of a scheme. Everybody realized how 
silly his project was but luckily no one told him. Finally they 
brought him to the meeting of the National Beekeepers' Associa- 


tion in Indianapolis, where, during the evening banquet, after he 
had told his tale, a company was organized, with a $2,000,000 
capital for the promotion of his project. Dr. Phillips was elected 
Secretary of the Company at some astounding salary. A well- 
known beekeeper was chosen as the "Chief Dronekiller" at a 
yearly salary of $20,000, an important position because the 
worker bees are very irritable during the period when they kill 
the drones. All the details were attended to: how to remove the 
honey and wax by elaborate machinery, and how to transport the 
honey through glass-lined pipes to San Antonio. It was the wild- 
est hoax. All attending the banquet were holding their sides from 
laughter without the victim discovering that they were having a 
grand time at his expense. At the end of the evening it fell to 
Dr. Phillips'' lot to perform a most perplexing and painful duty, 
that of telling the victim that the entire scheme was only a huge 


THE traditional manner in which the ancient races furnished 
the bees with new pastures, when their natural surroundings 
did not afford a sufficient supply of nectar, is highly interesting. 
The old "tillers" of Egypt placed the hives on boats and drifted 
along the Nile to provide the bees with fresh flowers which grew 
on the banks of the receding river, especially on its expansive 
delta. There was hardly any other pasturage for the bees in 
Egypt j there were no forests or meadows with wild flowers. 
Ancient Egypt had, by all means, less vegetation than present-day 
Egypt, because a considerable number of plants have been im- 
ported during the past thousands of years. On the other hand, the 
lotus, brought in all likelihood from India, and considered sacred, 
was more extensively cultivated than it is today, when it is nearing 
extinction. Lotus honey was in great favor in ancient Egypt. 

The inhabitants of Lower Egypt well knew that the blooming 
of fruit-trees and flowers of Upper Egypt preceded theirs by sev- 
eral months. Toward the end of October, the villagers embarked 
on boats or rafts, packed with pyramided hives, and conveyed 
them down the Nile into Upper Egypt, just at the time when the 
inundations had subsided and the flowers had begun to bud. The 
bees soon exhausted the supply of nectar two or five miles around 
a new locality j then the floats were moved to another station and 
remained there as long as it proved desirable. These wanderers 
returned to their homes about February, the hives well-stocked 
with honey, gathered from the orange blossoms of Said and 
Arabian jessamine. The hives were carefully numbered and deliv- 
ered to their respective owners. Niebuhr reported seeing such a 
flotilla of four thousand hives on the Nile. 


We learn from the Zenon papyri that the Egyptians had wan- 
dering beekeepers even on land. These papyri, originating from 
the third century b.c, were discovered in 19 14 by peasants dig- 
ging for antiquities on the site of ancient Philadelphia on the edge 
of the Fayoum. Zenon was a high official of Apolloneos who sent 
him to Philadelphia when Egypt was under Greek influence. In 
one of the papyri there is an appeal of the beekeepers to Zenon, 
entreating him to return the donkeys which they had lent him and 
which they needed at once to bring home their hives from distant 
fields. Some farmers threatened the beekeepers that they would 
ruin the hives because it was necessary to burn the brushwood and 
inundate the fields. "The donkeys were loaned for only ten days" 
— said the petition — "and now it is eighteen days and the donkeys 
have not been returned." They begged Zenon to deliver the 
donkeys with the assurance that after the hives had been brought 
home they would be immediately returned in case he needed them. 
"We pay a large tax to the King and if the donkeys are not 
restored at once the tax will be lost. May you prosper." 

The Greeks imitated the custom of the Egyptians. Columella 
describes how the inhabitants of Achaia took their hives overseas as 
far as the Attic peninsula to avail themselves of the benefits of its 
wonderful pastures. Solon mentioned bee-caravans and bee-floats 
in 600 B.C., and his laws demanded that each group of hives 
should be kept three hundred feet apart. It would not be surpris- 
ing if the Egyptians journeyed as far as Greece with their hives. 
The ancient Greeks called the Egyptian bees "cecropic" bees. 
Cecrops was an Egyptian, who, about 1500 B.C., wandered to 
Greece and probably introduced apiculture. 

The Romans, in the third century, took their hives with them 
to old Alemannia, and drifted down the Rhine. Wandering bee- 
keepers have been known since earliest times. Pliny reported that 
when the local sources of honey were exhausted, the inhabitants 
of Hostilia, a village on the Po, placed their hives on boats and 
sailed during the night five miles upstream, where next day the 
bees helped themselves in their new location. The temporary 
stations were changed each night, until the bees had collected so 


much honey that the boats were heavily laden. Then the villagers 
drifted downstream, homeward-bound. The French "bee-barges," 
with a capacity of sixty to a hundred hives, were frequently re- 
ferred to. The Provence and the forests of Orleans were covered 
during certain seasons with visiting hives. 

The same antiquated custom prevailed in the Mississippi Val- 
ley, starting from New Orleans. The blossoms of the river-wil- 
lows yielded excellent virgin honey. Perrine, of Chicago, traveled 
in a large boat up the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Paul, 
anticipating that the shores, after the flood had receded, would 
supply ample pasturage for the bees. The scorching heat, how- 
ever, ruined his plans ; he was even compelled to pour water over 
the hives, which alone destroyed many colonies. 

That this procedure was known also in England is shown by an 
article published in the London Times, 1830: "As the small sail- 
ing vessel was proceeding up the Channel from the coast of Corn- 
wall and running near land, some of the sailors noticed a swarm 
of bees on the island j they steered for it, landed, and after they 
succeeded in hiving the bees they took them on board and pro- 
ceeded on their voyage. As they sailed along the shore, the bees 
constantly flew from the vessel to the land to collect honey and 
returned again to their floating hive; and this was continued all 
the way up the Channel." 

On land, the hives were placed on wagons and when the combs 
were filled, the traveling beekeepers returned home. In Pales- 
tine, the orange groves of Jaffa offered a rich pasturage. The hives 
were carried by night on camels, sixteen hives to a load. Such 
journeying was called "giving the bees a pasture." In medieval 
Spain, they had similar customs except that the hives were trans- 
ported on mules. The Russians and Armenians around the Black 
Sea traveled like nomads, migrating with thousands of hives, 
pitching their tents where abundant wild flowers were to be found. 
Such bee-caravans, ambulatory establishments like gipsy-hordes, 
are often described in Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria and 
France. In Scotland, they conveyed the hives on carts to the High- 
lands, when the supply of nectar in the Lowlands was exhausted. 


They closed the entrances of the hives with wire screens which 
secured ample ventilation. The luxuriant blooms of the mountain- 
heather, which last over two months, supplied plentiful nectar to 
the bees in the autumn when no other flowers are available. The 
shepherds and gamekeepers took the hives under their protection 
for a modest quittance ; as a rule, a shilling a hive. Wandering 
beekeepers were also known in Switzerland, where the hives were 
taken to the valleys when the buckwheat, which produces excellent 
honey, was blooming. In the Luneburger Heide, nomadic troupes 
of beekeepers were traditional, especially in the springtime and 
late summer. The ancient laws well protected them. 

This almost archaic practice still seems to prevail in the United 
States. Many beekeepers make the bees work the year round. 
Early fall they truck about two hundred hives to a load to the 
winter pastures of wild flowers and orange groves of Florida. By 
May, when they return homeward, the colonies have multiplied 
considerably and produce a double crop of honey. 


PAINSTAKING efforts to collect wild honey were just as 
ancient a sport as hunting and fishing. When the bees were not 
yet domesticated and nested in hollow trees and rocks, to find the 
nests and rob them of honey was a profitable and favorite pastime. 
Special hunters devised all kinds of schemes to ferret out their 

The bees' well-known sense of orientation, as acute as that of 
homing-pigeons, was an important aid in tracking their lair. 
Columella (60 a.d.) describes how the hunters followed the bees. 
Washington Irving (A Tour of the Prairies, 1835) gives an 
account of his experience with honey-hunters in quest of "bee- 
trees." They placed a honeycomb, which served as bait, on a low 
bush. Soon the bees appeared and after they had provided them- 
selves with enough honey, they flew into the air and in a "bee- 
line" to their nest. The hunters followed the bees' course and 
traced them to some hollow tree-trunks where they found their 
cache sometimes sixty feet above the ground. Then they chopped 
down the trees and with knives and scoops emptied the cavities, 
replete with honey. John Burroughs (Idyl of the Honey-Bee) 
described an identical performance. 

Tickner Edwardes {The Bee-Master of Warrilow) also tells 
how to discover wild bees' nests. It is useless to search the woods 
for wild honey, for one may travel a whole day and find nothing. 
The only plan is to follow the laden bees as they return. The bee- 
master produces a saucer covered with honey which is in no time 
black with crowding bees. The saucer is then covered with a wire 

cage. These captured bees are the guides to the hidden treasure - 


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chambers. By opening a small door in the trap, one bee is allowed 
to escape and she immediately rises into the air, makes a circle and 
speeds away in a certain direction which one must follow. After 
a while, another bee is set free, and the same procedure is repeated 
until the nest is located high in the hollow of a dead tree. The 
Russian name of a beekeeper is "tree-climber"; in Lithuanian, a 
"bee-climber". The inseparable adjunct, almost an emblem of the 
Hungarian shepherd, is a stick with a little hatchet on its end. 
This, called fokos, was originally a beekeeper's implement for 
cutting the trunk of the tree to remove the welcome treasure. A 
similar tool is still used in the District of Hanover, Germany. It 
is called Be'ide and is the symbol of beekeeping. 

It was a most ancient custom that the finder had the right to 
mark the trees with a special design or initials, after which he or 
his tribe had the sole privilege of collecting honey from such 
trees. The laws were strict and severe punishment was meted out 
for altering or destroying these markings. In Germany, if one 
were caught in the act of trespassing, he had to pay a fine and, 
besides, received twenty lashes. (Plate VII.) 

On almost every continent there are birds which are fond of 
honey. They show the honey-hunters where the bees' nests are 
located. The birds receive their share for these services. Vasco de 
Gama related how the "honey-birds" of India guided the natives 
to the rocks where honey was to be found. The ajaje birds lead 
the Lango tribes, and the honey-ratels the Hottentots to the wild 
bees' nests. The honey-guide {Cuculus indicator), a tropical bird, 
shows the South African natives where the honey is located. She 
flies before the hunters to show them the way. As a reward, the 
bird receives part of the spoils. The natives faithfully obey this 
tradition and give the birds their liberal share ; otherwise, they 
believe, out of revenge the birds will surely lead them the next 
time to a lion's den or a snake's nest, and then fly away with a 
merry chirp. According to a Rhodesian folk-tale, these vindictive 
creatures lead the travelers to the nests to retaliate for an old 
injury which they suffered from the bees. 

Among primitive races honey-hunting was an important event 


and began with solemn rites. Chastity had to be observed the 
night before, otherwise the hunters would be badly stung by the 
bees or some other misfortune would befall them. 

In the Middle Ages honey-hunting was a royal sport. The 
German archives describe the Nuremberg forests as a hunting 
ground of royalty not only for game but for wild honey. Charle- 
magne began to domesticate wild bees in the Nuremberg forests 
out of gratitude because, after he had been stung by bees, he 
recovered from an obstinate gout. The Nuremberg forests were 
called the bee-garden of the Holy Roman Empire and under the 
reign of Charles IV (1347), the bee garden of Germany. From 
the honey collected there, the famous Lebkuchen was baked which 
is still popular the world over after twelve hundred years. 

In many countries special permits were issued, and the amount 
of honey had to be accounted for and taxes paid on it. The Domes- 
day Book mentions that the Bishop of Worcester, under the reign 
of Edward the Confessor, was privileged to hunt for honey in the 
forests of Malvern. 

The ancient origin of honey-hunting is demonstrated in myth- 
ology. (Plate VIII.) The Satyrs (Fauns), the attendants of Diony- 
sus, were extremely fond of honey. In one of the legends the 
jolly old, red-nosed, bloated and, as a rule, intoxicated Silenus, 
the schoolmaster and foster-father of Bacchus and the alleged 
inventor of the flute, was anxious to find the wild bees' nest and 
plunder it of honey. As the story goes, Silenus stood on his 
donkey's back, reaching for honey-combs, when the bees flew at 
him and stung him on his bald head. He fell on top of the donkey, 
which, when also stung, kicked him and escaped, to the great 
merriment of the other Satyrs who witnessed his plight. Ovid 
describes the scene and tells how Dionysus laughed and taught 
Silenus how to ease the pain of the sting with mud. (Plate IX.) 

Innumerable fables and legends refer to honey-hunting. One 
of the oldest legends, often mentioned in ancient literature, is 
that of Antophilus, the Greek poet, who was a great lover of 
honey and who sang its praise in his poems. Antophilus, while 
searching for wild honey, climbed a precipice and swinging on a 


rope, emptied the contents of a nest. Some honey trickled down 
the rope. His dog, also very fond of honey, chewed the rope and 
Antophilus fell from the perilous height and was killed. 

The following, a rather amusing little story from Poland, is 
credited to Demetrius, the Russian Ambassador to Rome: "A man, 
searching in the woods for honey, slipped down into a great hol- 
low tree, where he found himself up to his breast in a veritable 
lake of this sweet substance. He stuck fast there for two days, 
making the lonely woods resound in vain with his cries for help. 
Finally, when the man had almost abandoned hope, a large bear 
appeared upon the scene, bent on the same business that had taken 

fig. 3. The man saved by a bear. 
(From Wilhelm Busch's serial) 

the man there. Bruin smelled the honey, which had been stirred 
up by the struggles of the prisoner, and straightway climbed the 
tree and let himself down backward into the hollow. The man, 
whose wits had been sharpened by the adversity, caught him about 
the loins and made as vigorous an outcry as he could. Up clam- 
bered Bruin in a panic, not knowing what had got hold of him. 
Our man clung fast, and the bear tugged, until by main force he 
had pulled himself and his captor out of the tree; then he let 
go and Bruin, considerably frightened, took to the woods with all 
speed, leaving his smeared companion to his own congratulations." 
Wilhelm Busch, the graphic humorist and pastmaster of comical 
sequence, must have been quite impressed by the story since he 
illustrated it with a complete serial of pictures. (Fig.3.) 


In connection with honey-hunting we find among the primitive 
tribes of far-off continents many fanciful tales which relate the 
identical and characteristic yarn. The honey-hunter usually finds 
among the honeycombs in a tree an enchanted bee-woman who 
will cook for him and will prepare a delicious honey-wine. The 
hunter proposes marriage to her, which she accepts under the con- 
dition that he should never mention to anybody where he had 
found her, otherwise, she would disappear. This actual proviso is 
typical also of many other myths; the story of Psyche, the Lohen- 
grin Saga and the story of Undine, are only a few instances. This 
peculiar secrecy seems to be analogous, in certain respects, with 
the curious marriage customs of primitive races, according to 
which a wife was not permitted to pronounce the husband's name 
or it was unlawful for a husband to see his wife's face until after 
she had given birth to her first child. 

The following is a popular legend along the Orinoco River 
(Amazon region) : There was a man who possessed great skill in 
detecting bees' nests, with which the forest abounded; in fact, he 
was better in this respect than anyone else. One day the man tried 
to drill a hollow tree, with the intention of removing honey, 
when suddenly he heard a loud scream, "You are killing me!" 
He carefully opened the tree and to his amazement, saw a beau- 
tiful naked woman before him. He made her a loin-cloth and 
bade her marry him. The woman consented to be his wife under 
one condition, that he would never call her Maba (bee), or tell 
anyone that it was her name. Our man promised and the two 
became husband and wife. The hunter remained just as efficient 
in finding the bees' nests as in former days. His wife made the 
best honey-wine that was ever brewed; a cupful was sufficient to 
supply all the guests. On one occasion, many visitors arrived, and 
they all became intoxicated. The host promised his guests that 
the next time his wife would prepare more and still better honey- 
wine, and in the same breath referred to her as Maba. In an 
instant, like a shot, Maba flew away. From that time on the man's 
luck changed and honey became scarce in the region. His wife had 
been one of the legendary bee-women. 


There are similar tales in Indonesia. The Bornean version, 
quoted in The Mythology of All Races (Vol. IX), is as follows: 

A man named Rakian was out hunting for honey, when in the 
top of a mangis tree he saw many bees' nests, in one of which 
were white bees. (Several Christian legends allude to snow-white 
bees producing virginal honey.) Since white bees were a rarity, he 
carefully removed the nest and took it home. The next day he 
was working in his garden and when he returned to his house in 
the evening he found a meal cooked for him. He was surprised 
because he lived alone. The following day the same thing oc- 
curred, his meal was again cooked. This continued for some time. 
Finally he resolved to investigate the mystery. 

He pretended to go to the garden but silently returned, hid 
himself and watched. The door of the house soon creaked and a 
beautiful woman came out, and went to the river to fetch some 
water. While she was gone, Rakian entered the house, and found 
that the bees' nest was empty. He hid the nest and secreted him- 
self again. The woman returned and upon finding the nest gone 
commenced to weep. In the evening Rakian entered the house as 
was his custom. The woman sat there silent. "Why are you here?" 
he asked, "perhaps you want to steal my bees?" The woman an- 
swered, "I don't know anything about your bees." Rakian asked 
her to cook for him because he was hungry, but she refused, as 
she was vexed. The woman demanded her box but he was afraid 
that she would disappear into it again. She promised not to, and 
that she would become his wife if he would not disclose her 
identity. Rakian agreed j they were married and by and by she 
bore him a child. 

One day Rakian went to a feast at his neighbors. All asked him 
whence his beautiful wife had come. He evaded the question. 
After a while, when they all were intoxicated, he forgot his prom- 
ise and revealed to his friends that his wife had been a bee. 

When he returned, his wife did not speak to him. Later she 
reproached him for having broken his promise and said that she 
must return to her home. "In seven days my father will pass here 
and I shall go with him, but the child I leave with you." Rakian 


wept. He could not change her mind. Seven days later he saw a 
white bee flying by, whereupon his wife came out of the house 
and exclaimed: "There is my father." She turned into a bee and 
flew away. 

Rakian picked up the child and pursued the bees. For seven 
days he followed them until finally he lost sight of them. Soon a 
strange woman appeared who directed him to his wife's home. 
Rakian climbed into the house and found it full of bees, except 
the middle room. The child began to cry, when suddenly Rakian's 
wife appeared. Rakian was happy but she reproached him for 
revealing her secret. Finally they became reconciled and all the 
bees dropped down from the roof-beams to the floor and became 
men. Rakian and the child remained in the bees' village. 

There are similar fables among the African tribes. 

An old Hungarian fable suggests that Christ, Himself, was a 
honey-hunter. Christ and St. Peter were wandering. Peter said, 
"It must be wonderful to be a God, help the widows and orphans, 
reward good deeds and punish the wicked. If this could be ac- 
complished, there wouldn't be any vice on earth." While Peter 
was talking, Jesus looked around and noticed a bees' nest in the 
hollow of a tree. Christ suggested to Peter that he put the swarm 
into his cap, "Maybe they will be useful." Peter obeyed and put 
cluster after cluster into his cap until one of the bees stung him 
on the finger. With a loud cry of pain, he threw the cap, full of 
bees, to the ground, saying, "Oh, the devil shall take this swarm ; 
how one of them has stung me!" Christ said, "Well, why don't 
you find the one which stung you?" "How can I," said Peter, 
"they all look alike." Then Jesus said, "If you were God, you 
would do the same thing; if one of your people sinned, all the 
innocent would have to suffer." 

During the pioneer days of America honey-hunting was a 
profitable pursuit and a favorite occupation of the Southwestern 
backwoodsmen. Wild honey was sold for a quarter of a dollar a 
gallon and some bee-trees yielded as much as a dozen gallons of 
honey. The honey-hunter with his old sombrero, open hickory 
shirt and deer-skin breeches is often described in contemporary 


writings. He is portrayed as a real character; fond of nature, 
solitude and the stillness of the woods, listening to the drowsy 
hum of the bees. His power of vision became extremely keen 
through education and he could follow the bees with his eyes for 
hundreds of yards. His equipment consisted of an axe, several 
buckets, a fishing outfit and, of course, a rifle to protect him from 
Indians and bears. 

The honey hunters, as a rule, built their log-cabins near navi- 
gable rivers and grew their vegetables on the land surrounding 
their shacks. They depended on their rifles to procure the neces- 
sary meat. Honey was an important article of barter. After the 
hunters had collected several barrels of honey, they rolled them 
down to the river bank, placed them on boats, and paddled their 
cargo to the nearest settlement where they exchanged the honey 
for flour, gunpowder, lead and other necessities. Hunters who 
lived on or near the banks of the Mississippi traded their honey 
with the skippers of the steamboats. The rivermen took the honey 
to New Orleans, where they sold it at a fair profit. 

The importance of felling bee trees is best proven by the dis- 
pute which occurred in 1840 between the States of Iowa and 
Missouri. A farmer of Clark County (Mo.) cut down several bee 
trees filled with honey on the boundary line between the two 
States. This strip of land had been claimed by both States and 
ended in the so-called Honey-War. The United States Supreme 
Court finally decided the matter in 1851 and settled the exact 
boundary between the two States. 


AMONG polytheistic nations (Varro counted 30,000 gods), 
l sacrifices to the gods were a common practice. These obla- 
tional services consisted of prayers supplemented with gifts, to 
win the favor of the gods and to express gratitude for their bounty 
or to appease their anger and ward off their sinister influence; in 
a word, sacrifices to the gods were either thank offerings or sin 
offerings. The hunters sacrificed their prey, the farmers their 
fruit and harvest products or animals, like horses, bulls, sheep, 
etc. In some countries, occasionally even women and children were 

We find that honey was universally used in consecratory rites 
when people wished to offer something especially holy and accept- 
able to a deity as an expression of thanksgiving, penitence or 
atonement. Sophocles in the fragment of the lost Polydos de- 
scribes the offerings, dear to the gods: 

"Wool of the sheep was there, fruit of the vine, 
Libations and the treasured store of grapes. 
And manifold fruits were there, mingled with grain 
And oil of olive, and fair curious combs 
Of wax, compacted by the yellow bee." 

To the ancient Germanic god, Neckar, there was yearly sacri- 
ficed a man, a sheep, a loaf of bread and a beehive. 

Honey, the celestial food, collected from the "virtues" of flow- 
ers, was considered by all ancients the symbol of purity, love and 
wisdom. During the Leontic (inhabitants of an ancient Greek 


town in the province of Syracuse) initiation ceremonies honey was 
poured on the hands, instead of water, to keep them pure from 
everything that causes pain, harm or brings defilement. Honey 
was also thought to purify the tongue from every sin. St. Gregory 
(Pope, 590—604 a.d.), in Morals on the Book of Job (Vol. II, p. 
185), remarked, "When the grace of the Holy Spirit bathes us, it 
fills us with honey and butter equally. Honey falls from above, 
butter is drawn from the milk of animals, so honey is from the 
air, butter from the flesh." In primitive baptism the neophyte 
drank a cup of milk and honey mixed; "the new-born in Christ" 
partook of the food of infants. St. Jerome mentions among the 
"unsanctioned rites" the cup of honey and milk. While honey was 
used in the early Christian services, by the end of the sixth cen- 
tury its use in the Roman church was discontinued. The Copts 
and Ethiopians, however, kept it up in their baptismal ceremonies. 
The wine used in Ethiopia for communion purposes is prepared 
from honey. Honey, in all probability, symbolized the Land of 
Promise. The fifth century book, Joseph and Arsenath, relates 
how the angel had eaten a piece of honeycomb and also put a 
piece into the mouth of Arsenath, exclaiming, "Now thou hast 
eaten the bread of life and hast drunk the cup of immortality and 
received the unction of incorruption." In Persia during the Mith- 
raic feasts honey was used on the hands of the candidates as a 
cleansing substance instead of water. The Christians ate honey 
before fast-days, especially on Holy Thursday. On the eve of the 
Jewish New Year an apple dipped in honey was eaten ; fruit and 
honey symbolized prosperity and peace. 

Prehistoric man worshiped the sun, the most glorious object 
in Nature, as the supreme god, the giver and sustainer of all life. 
Only the most intellectual amongst the primitive races were sun- 
worshipers. Honey had a significant part in all their rituals. The 
Babylonians and Assyrians poured honey on the foundation-stones 
and walls of the temples. Nebuchadnezzar was a liberal user of 
honey. The priests anointed themselves with honey and placed 
some on the altars. At sunrise honey sacrifices were brought to the 
Sun-God. In one of the Magical papyri (Berlin), the worshiper 


is thus instructed: "Take honey with the milk, drink it before the 
rising of the sun, and there shall be in thy heart something that 
is divine." We find that the same custom existed among the 
Egyptians and among the Incas of Peru. The Hindus and Per- 
sians used honey in profusion during their religious services} they 
considered honey a sacred substance, a divine food, a cleanser and 

Many rituals of the African tribes in Somaliland, Gallaland, 
and also of the Bushmen and Hottentots, even today, are inti- 
mately associated with honey. The Hottentots dance during full 
moon and pray for plenty of honey and milk. Their honey har- 
vests are opened with religious ceremonies. No one is allowed to 
collect honey before a certain time. The priests taste the honey 
first and then they announce that everyone is permitted to collect 
his share. In medieval France pilgrimages were conducted to 
certain shrines to pray for an abundant honey harvest. 

There are many evidences in ancient archives which prove the 
importance of bees and of their products, honey and wax, in the 
Christian religion. The Lorsch (Hessen, Germany)* manuscript 
in the Vatican library is an interesting example. It is a supplica- 
tion to the Lord to protect the bees, these "dear animals," vihu 
mlnaz. The huge bronze baldachin before the main altar of St. 
Peter's Church in Rome is studded with bees, likewise the tomb 
of Urban VIII. (Plate X.) The shape of the papal tiara was 
unquestionably derived from an old-fashioned beehive (skep). 
On the title-page picture of the German edition of De roomische 
byen-korf (Roman beehive), by Filips van Marnix, the papal 
tiara serves as a hive for the bees. One bee represents the pope 
(king bee), others function as cardinals, bishops and monks saying 
Mass and attending to burials and confessions. (Fig. 4.) Accord- 
ing to a passage of the book, "our dear and loving mother, the 
holie church of Rome, ought not to scorn or disdaine that we do 
compare her customs and orders to a Bee-Hive, considering that 
shee herself doth compare the incomprehensible generation of 
the Sonne of God from his Father, together with his birth out of 

* Lorsch was one of the localities where Charlemagne kept his bees. 


the pure and undefiled Virgine Marie unto the Bees; which were 
in verie deede a great blasphemie, if the bees were not of so great 
vertue, that by them wee might liken and compare the holie 
church of Rome. And, seeing, she saith, that God is delighted 
with the giftes and presentes of the bees, why should not shee 
herself exceedingly rejoyce with our Bee-Hive."* 

fig. 4. The Roman beehive. 

Title page of De roomische byen-korf by Filips van Marnix. 1 58 1. 

(Courtesy Hilda M. Ransome, The Sacred Bee, 1937) 


A most notable acknowledgment of the significance of bees and 
honey is found in the Exultet Rolls. These sumptuously illus- 
trated liturgical parchment manuscripts, some of them twenty- 
two feet long and one foot in breadth, are the oldest extant texts 
of the Roman Mass. They date back to the early eleventh century 
and were named after the first word of the prayer, Exultet iam 
angelica turba caelorum (Let now rejoice the heavenly choir of 

* Quoted by W. Hone, Ancient Mysteries, 1823. 


angels). It was sung by the monks on Easter Eve during the 
consecration of the Easter taper. The texts are divided into short 
chapters, intersected by elaborately illuminated pictures. The pic- 
tures are in reverse to the text so that, when the priests chanted 
the songs and unfolded the rolls over the pulpit, the congregation 
could see the subject illustrated. Certain sections of these prayers 
are veritable eulogies of bees and honey. "Talia igitur Domine, 
digna sacris altaribus tuis munera offeruntur, quibus te laetari 
religio Christiana non ambigit." (Such gifts, therefore, O Lord, 
are offered worthy of thy altars, with which the Christian religion 
does not hesitate that thou rejoicest.) 

The Barberini manuscript in the Vatican library is a typical 
specimen. (Plate XI.) In a garden of flowery bushes, with trees 
in the center, bees, gathering honey, cover the entire field. A 
crouching bee-master cuts honeycombs from the hive and places 
them in a bowl. Another figure is holding a pitcher under it, not 
to waste a drop of honey. Two other men are cutting the branch 
of a tree to hive a swarm which settled on it. The rolls of Monte 
Cassino, Capua, Troja, Fondi, Gaeta, Bari, Mirabella, etc., vary 
in composition but all are decorated with hives and laboring bees. 


Honey is frequently mentioned in the Bible j it was referred to 
as a wholesome food, a helpful medicine, an ingredient of de- 
licious drinks, an appropriate gift and a valued possession. There 
is only little evidence that the Hebrews cultivated bees, but they 
used wild honey in profusion. "Wild" honey is often mentioned; 
whether this was meant as a contrast to domesticated honey, it is 
difficult to say. That the Jews were solicitous about their honey 
supply is indicated in the Talmud (B. Batra 18, A) where a 
warning is given never to let mustard plants grow near bees' nests 
because bees are fond of these flowers which, however, burn their 
throats and they then consume a greater quantity of honey. The 
Jews were permitted, according to their religious laws, to provide 
water on Saturdays and holidays to their domestic animals, but 


this dispensation did not apply to bees, because they themselves 
could secure it (Sabath 24: 3). On the other hand, in case of rain, 
or to protect the bees from the scorching sun, the Jews were per- 
mitted to cover the nests with linen even on holidays (Sabath 

Philo, the historian (in the time of Christ), in his work, De 
Vita Contemflativa (II. 663), refers to a caste among the He- 
brews called Essenes, who lived in the region of the Dead Sea, 
and whose occupation was supposed to be the cultivation of bees 
and the production of honey. Josephus, in the Antiquities of the 
Jews, also mentions the Essenes of Judea. (It is noteworthy that 
the Greek term Essenos (king bee) was the epithet of Zeus. 
The priestesses of Artemis were called Melissa! (bees) and their 
high priests, Essenes.) 

When the Hebrews referred to Palestine they used the pro- 
verbial metaphor, expressive of plenty, "a land flowing with milk 
and honey." This reference is repeated twenty-one times in the 
Bible. (Exod. 3: 8 } 3: 175 13: 5; 33: 35 Lev. 30: 35; Num. 13: 
28} 14: 8; 16: 14; Deut. 6: 35 11: 9; 26: 15; 27: 35 31: 20j 
Jos. 5: 6; Tob. 30: 17 j Jer. 11:5; 32: 22 j Ezek. 20: 6; 30: 15; 
Sirach 46, 10; Baruch 1, 20.) The day Christ rose from the dead 
and appeared before His Disciples, He asked for food. They gave 
Him broiled fish and a honeycomb (Luke 24: 42). Christ ate the 
food to prove to the Apostles that He was truly resurrected and 
not merely a Spirit or a Thought. John the Baptist, in his camel's 
hair raiment, ate dried locusts and honey in the wilderness (Mark 
1 : 6, Matth. 3: 4). In the Hebrew language debash means honey 
and Deborah, bee. 

There was honey galore in Palestine. Samuel described woods 
where honey was so plentiful that the combs were strewn on the 
ground. "And when the people were come into the woods, behold, 
the honey dropped." (Samuel 14: 26.) Not only trees but also 
the rocks poured forth honey. "He would feed them . . . with 
honey out of the rock." In the songs of Moses there is an allusion, 
"he shall not see the rivers, the flowing streams of honey and 
butter." (Job 20: 17.) Prophet Isaiah (eighth century b.c.) men- 


tions honey and butter : ". . . for butter and honey shall everyone 
eat that is left in the midst of the land." (Isa. 7: 21.) 

The heaven-born manna, on which the Israelites subsisted in 
the desert for forty years, contained honey ; it was probably honey- 
dew. "And the House of Israel called the name thereof manna; 
and it resembled coriander seed, white, and tasted like wafers 
made with honey." (Exod. 16: 31.) That manna contained only 
a small quantity of honey is mentioned in the chapter of the 
"Fives" in the Talmud: 

"Fire is one-sixtieth of hell, 
Honey is one-sixtieth of manna, 
Sabbath one-sixtieth of rest of the world to come, 
Sleep one-sixtieth of death, 
Dreams one-sixtieth of prophecy." 

Honey must have been an important article of commerce among 
the Jews. Ezekiel mentions (27: 17) that the Israelites, in addi- 
tion to wine, oil and balsams, also carried honey to a Phoenician 
mercantile town, known as Tyrus, and it is possible that they 
supplied other markets with honey. That the Jews put aside honey 
for future use is proven by the appeal of the men to Ishmael: 
"Slay us not, for we have stores hidden in the fields, of wheat 
and of barley and of oil and of honey." (Jer. 41 : 8.) 

There are many references in the Bible to honey as an at- 
tractive gift. Jacob, the Patriarch, when he sent his son to Egypt, 
gave him honey, spices, myrrh and almonds to deliver as a present 
to the Governor. When Jeroboam's queen visited the blind 
Prophet Ahijah at Shiloh (Kings 14: 3), she brought with her a 
cruse of honey in order to obtain a favorable report about her 
dying son. Possibly honey was also intended to cure the Prophet's 
blindness. King David's army, 3,000 years ago, was provided 
with honey, . . . "they brought beds and basins and earthen ves- 
sels and wheat and barley . . . beans and lentils . . . and honey 
and butter for David and for the people with him, to eat ; for they 
said, the people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilder- 


ness." (2 Sam. 17: 28, 29.) That the Hebrews highly valued 
honey as a food substance is conclusively proven by the words of 
the son of Sirach, who recognized honey as "one of the principal 
things for use. in man's life." (Eccl. 39: 26.) The medicinal value 
of honey is often emphasized in the Talmud. It was used for 
various diseases, especially for heart troubles, gout and as an ex- 
ternal application for the wounds of man and beast. Mixing honey 
with wine is repeatedly mentioned. Assyria was called the land of 
honey and olive trees. 

Honey was frequently employed in the Bible in a symbolical 
sense, namely, to draw a comparison between some act or con- 
ception and the sweetness of honey. David, who had been a shep- 
herd boy, often utilized metaphorically the sweetness of honey: 
"The judgment of the Lord is sweeter than honey and the drop- 
pings of the honeycomb." (Ps. 19: 10.) "How sweet are thy 
words to my taste, yea, sweeter than honey in my mouth." (Ps. 
119: 102.) In Solomon's Proverbs (16: 24) : "Pleasant words are 
as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones." "The 
lips of the bride are as sweet as honey. The lips of the concubine 
are like honey but later bitter as vermuth" (Prov. 5:3). There are 
two accounts in the Bible of men being ordered to eat a book and 
in each case "the book tasted as sweet as honey." (Ezek. 3: 3 
and Revel. 10: 9, 10.) In the Revelation: "And I took the little 
book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my 
mouth sweet as honey." 

The mythical tale of Samson (Judges 14:5-18) is well known. 
Samson was calling on his Philistine sweetheart when he was at- 
tacked by a young lion. Samson had no weapon, only the Spirit 
of Jehovah came mightily upon him and "he rent the lion as he 
would have rent a kid." When he returned "after a while" he 
passed the spot and found that bees had taken possession of the 
lion's carcass and had built combs in it, where they stored their 
honey. Samson removed some honey, took it home, gave a portion 
to his father and to his mother and ate some of it hemself. 

During his marriage feast Samson put a riddle to the Philistine 
young men: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the 


strong came forth sweetness." The young men could not solve the 
riddle for three days, but Samson's wife obtained from him the 
answer and betrayed him to the young men, who then claimed to 
have solved the enigma by saying: "What is sweeter than honey 
and what is stronger than a lion?" 

This Biblical tale was much discussed by ancient and modern 
apicultural writers. Aristotle emphasized the bees' dislike for 
strong odors and decayed matter. It seems improbable that the 
bees would utilize a carcass for their nesting place. On the other 
hand, it must be taken into consideration that in tropical countries 
at a certain season of the year the heat is so intense that it dries 
up all moisture and the carcass will not undergo decomposition. In 
the desert dead camels remain mummified for a long time and 
their bodies are entirely free from offensive odors. Often jackals, 
vultures and dogs gnaw off the soft parts and only the skeleton 
remains in which the bees may build their combs. In the West of 
the United States (Montana) skeletons of oxen have been found 
which the bees had converted into dwelling places. 

Honey sacrifices were prohibited by the Jews as honey was 
liable to ferment. "Ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey as an 
offering unto Jehovah" (Lev. 2: 11). Honey, however, was al- 
lowed as a "not burnt" offering or as a tribute of first fruit (Lev. 
2: 12). One may assume that the Jews used honey as a leavening 
for baking purposes. 

Today, there is again honey in abundance in modern Palestine 
and vigorous efforts have been made by the inhabitants to find 
foreign markets for their bees and honey. 





Zeus, the omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent father of 
the gods, was brought up on honey. (Fig. 5.) According to the 
legend, the father of Zeus, Cronos, one of the Titans, married his 
own sister, Rhea. Cronos ate his children as soon as they were 
born because it was presaged that one of his offspring would 
replace him in the heavenly kingdom. Cronos had already de- 
voured the five elder children. Zeus, the sixth and most beautiful 
of them, was hidden by his mother after his birth in an almost 
inaccessible grotto in Mt. Ida, on the island of Crete. Rhea 
wrapped a stone in swaddling bands, which looked like a new- 
born child, and gave it to Cronos, who swallowed it, thinking that 
it was his son. The daughters of the King, the nymphs Melitta 
(the bee) and Amalthea (the goat), nursed Zeus on honey and 

fig. 6. Ancient Greek coin. 
The laureate head of Zeus, on the reverse, his symbols, the eagle and bee. 

milk. When Zeus grew up he dethroned his father after a ten 
years' war and became the ruler of Mt. Olympus. The number 
of legendary tales associating Zeus with bees and honey are in- 
finite. Homer gave Zeus the epithet, Essenos, the Bee King. On 
many ancient Greek coins there is a head of Zeus and on the 
reverse side, a bee. (Fig. 6.) Honey was considered a heavenly 
gift. Zeus rained honey (honeydew) which had the power to raise 
the dead. Plutarch called honey the saliva of the stars (saliva 
siderum) . 

The Hindus believed that the heaven-born honey which fell 
on the leaves and grass sweetened even the milk of cows and 
goats. Kalidasa in the "Hero and Nymph" exclaims: 


"Delightful words! they fell like drops of nectar, 
No wonder nectar from the moon should flow." 

In Hindu mythology the moon had the epithet, Madhukara, 

Artemis, the Moon-goddess, was often figured in the shape of 
a bee. It was an ancient Germanic belief that the moon was sup- 
posed to be a huge cup, filled with honey and mead; and the 
stars were swarms of bees, whose honey fell to the earth upon the 
oak and sweet ash. The honeydew which settled over the mighty 
sacred ash, Ygdrasil (representing the tree of the Universe), 
nourished the bees. The well of Ymir, the source of all wisdom, 
was under this tree and Odin pawned one of his eyes to obtain a 
drink from it. 

The sweet ash which was believed to feed the bees with honey- 
dew had noteworthy significance in all mythologies. The word ash 
(in Latin melia, mel = honey) is derived from the Norse aska, 
meaning, man. Odin fashioned the first man from this tree. Pliny 
mentioned that all evil creatures have a fear of the ash and that 
serpents would rather pass through fire than over its leaves. 
Mothers used to place the cradles of their infants under an ash 
tree to protect them from harm. The Finnish shepherds planted 
an ash stick on the pasture to protect their cattle and the Scotch 
Highlanders placed a piece of the wood over their cow stables to 
keep the witches from contaminating the milk. Achilles used an 
ashen spear and Cupid made his arrows from ash. 

The Bushmen call honey moon's water. When the game is shot 
and does not die, or even arises, they believe it is due to the magic 
effect of moon's water. The Bushmen have a special drum called 
goin-goin and while they are beating it they dance and pray that 
the bees may become abundant and bring home honey, so that 
their women and children will not go hungry. 

There is much evidence in all mythologies of how fond the 
gods were of honey. Ovid relates in Metamorphosis that Jupiter 
and Mercury were traveling through Phrygia as plain mortals and 
no one would admit them, except two charitable souls living in a 



fig. 7. Antique 

Roman gem. 

Amor sailing on a 

honey-j ar. 

modest tent, who offered them the food which 
they most desired, namely, honey, milk and 

Eros (Amor) was often pictured as a honey- 
thief. Anacreon, the Greek bard (fifth century 
b.c), has written an immortal song, Eros, the 
honey-thief. Theocritus (third century b.c.) 
transcribed the same poem, hove stealing 
honey. Lucas Cranach, the distinguished early 
sixteenth century painter, composed no less 
than nine pictures of Amor as a honey-thief. 
(Plate XII.) Albrecht Diirer made the drawing 
of his Honey -Thief in 15 14. (Plate XIII.) Many antique gems 
depict Amor in association with honey. One of them represents 
Amor floating over waves with spread sails on a honey jar on 
which there is the image of a bee. (Fig. 7.) On another gem Amor, 
to protect the bees, chases some birds from a tree. (Fig. 8.) 
Amor is supposed to have dipped his arrows into honey to 
produce blissful love. He was often called metaphorically the 
honey-bird, with "eyes and voice as sweet as honey." In the Idyl 
of MoschuSy the Greek bucolic poet of Syracuse (200 b.c), Venus 
thus describes the lost Cupid, whom she is trying to find: "The 
child is most notable j thou couldst tell him among twenty others ; 
his skin is not white but flame colored ; his eyes are keen and burn- 
ing; an evil heart and a honeyed tongue has he, for his speech and 
mind are at variance. Like honey is his voice 
but his heart of gall; all tameless is he and 
deceitful, the truth is not in him, a wily brat 
and cruel in his pastime." 

It is interesting that Kama, the Hindu 
god of love, is also closely associated with 
honey and bees. Kama rides on a bee * and 
the string of his bow consists of a chain of 
bees, symbolizing the sweetness and sting of 

*On a Hittite gem found near Aleppo, Atargatis (another name for Diana of 
Ephesus, originating in Babylon) stands on a bee. 

fig. 8. Roman gem. 

Amor protecting the 



love. (Fig. 9.) (Honey and the sting of 
the bee are contrasted as often as roses 
and thorns.) Kalidasa, the Hindu poet, 
refers to Kama and his bow. For in- 
stance, in The Birth of the War-God, 

"Weaves a string of bees with deft invention 
To speed the missile when the bow is bent." 

Then again in the Shakuntala: 

"A stalwart soldier comes, the spring, 
Who bears the bow of Love; 
And on that bow, the lustrous string 
Is made of bees. . . ." 


fig. 9. Hindu honey-jar. 

Kama, the Hindu Cupid, 

riding on a bee. 

Possibly the names of the two gods, Amor and Kama, were de- 
rived from the same root, amo> I love. 

The Hindus, Greeks, Romans and all Slavic races had gods for 
bees and honey. There were only a few gods in mythologies to 
whom honey sacrifices were not offered. Zeus, Ceres, her 
daughter, honied Proserpina, Apollo, Dionysus, Aphrodite, even 
Hecate of Hades were some of the gods to whom frequent honey 
offerings were brought. Dionysus was also worshiped as a honey- 
god. His priestesses carried in their hands the thyrsos, a cane with 
a crown of ivy. Euripides comments, "the ivy wands distilled 
from all their tops rich store of honey." 

"And as they pass, through every plain 
Flows milk, flows wine, the nectar'd honey flows, 
And round each soft gale Syrian odors throws." 

Virgil, in Georgics I, refers to the honey sacrifices brought to 
Ceres: "For thee let all the rural youths adore Ceres ; to whom 
mix thou the honeycomb with milk and gentle wine." 

In one of his Elegies, Tibullus describes the honey offerings to 
the household gods: 



"Or dulcet cakes himself the farmer paid, 
When crown'd his wishes by your powerful aid; 
While his fair daughter brought with her from home 
The luscious offering of a honeycomb." 

Empedocles (490-430 B.C.) mentions the honey sacrifices to 

"And holy offerings of unmixed myrrh, 
And sweetly smelling frankincense; and many 
A pure libation of fresh golden honey 
They pour'd along the floor." 

According to the legend, Dedalus, the divine artist and the builder 
of the famous Cretan labyrinth, made a honeycomb for Aphrodite 
from the purest gold which looked so natural that it was confused 
with a real one. (Diodorus Siculus IV. 78.) 

Pan,* the god of shepherds, Priapus, the god of gardens, and 
the Nymphs were considered the protectors of the bees and they 
had also their share of honey offerings. In one of the Idyls of 
Theocritus, the shepherd professes: "And I will set out eight 
bowls of milk for Pan and eight bowls, full of the richest honey- 

Many priestesses and nymphs, according to Greek mythology, 
gained their inspiration from honey intoxicants under the influ- 
ence of which "they raved in holy frenzy." Horace refers to it in 
the "Ode to Bacchus": 

"Give me to sing, by thee inspir'd, 
Thy priestesses to madness fiVd: 
Fountains of wine shall pour along, 
And, melting from the hollow tree, 
The golden treasures of the bee, 
And streams of milk shall fill the song." 

*The word panic was derived from mischievous Pan, who took delight in 
frightening unsuspecting travelers. 


Homer in the "Hymn to Mercury" comments on the prophetic 
powers with which the priestesses were endowed by indulging in 
honey drinks: 

"From these I have learned true 
Vaticinations of remotest things 
My father cared not. Whilst they search out dooms, 
They sit apart and feed on honey-combs. 
Drunk with divine enthusiasm, and utter 
With earnest willingness the truth they know, 
But, if deprived of that sweet food, they mutter 
All plausible delusions; — these to you 
I give; — if you inquire, they will not stutter; 
Delight your own soul with them; — any man 
You would instruct may profit if he can." 

The hypnotic effect of honey is frequently mentioned in myth- 
ology. Orpheus sang that if anyone fell asleep after eating honey 
it was difficult to awaken him. Zeus, before he attacked his father, 
put him asleep with a honey drink: 

"When prostrate 'neath the lofty oaks you see him 
Lie drunken with the work of murmuring bees, 
Then bind him. . . ." 

Porphyry (De antr. nymfh. 7) 

Virgil relates that when his hero Aeneas descended to Hades, 
he flung a soporific honey cake to Cerberus and that the creature 
"in a mad rage opened his three mouths and snatched the offered 
morsel, relaxing his monstrous limbs, extending at vast length all 
over the cave." Three times each year honey sacrifices were of- 
fered to Pluto, the god of the underworld. The Romans had 
divers names for their religious places. One was called scrobiculus. 
It consisted of a pit containing an altar on which they poured 
the blood of a slain beast tempered with honey as a sacrifice to 
the infernal deity. To Bona Dea (the Earth), a mixture of milk 
and honey was offered and the container in which it was kept was 
called the honey-vessel. Chaucer in The Knight's Tale: 


"With vessels in her hand of gold full fine, 
All full of Hony, Milk, Blood and Wine." 

Plutarch mentions (Symp. 5) that the Athenians offered no wine 
to their gods but only water, sweetened with honey. 

To the Fates who spin the thread of human destiny, honey was 
also offered. The Spartan women believed that the Fates, though 
invisible, frequently visited a newborn child, especially on the 
third or fifth night after birth. They left the doors of the house 
open on these nights and set on the table bread, honey and water 
to win the favor of the Fates. 

The use of honey cake as a sacrificial offering was universal in 
all mythologies. In Egypt the sacred bull Apis and the sacred 
crocodile of Thebes were fed on honey cakes. It was an ancient 
custom in Egypt to consult in all perplexing situations the sacred 
bull at the oracle of Memphis. Food was offered to Apis; if this 
was accepted, it was considered a favorable sign, if refused, it was 
an indication of ill-omen. As an inducement, to tickle the palate 
of Apis, the food was mixed with honey to secure a propitious 

Among the Greeks, Romans, the Germanic and Slavic races 
sacrificial offering of honey cake was an established and favorite 

In the Rig-Veda honey was a super-eminent subject. Vishnu, 
Indra and Krishna were all called Mad/zava, honey-born. The two 
demigods, Aswins, who attended to the welfare of men, were the 
children of the Sun and the Moon, the givers of dawn, of a new 
day. They were pictured in a three-wheeled golden chariot, on 
which they carried honey. Many hymns were sung to the Aswins: 
"Harness your bounty-shedding golden chariot with swift horses, 
refresh our strength with trickling honey, bring prosperity to our 
people and to our cattle. Animate us, prolong our existence, bring 
us vigor, wipe out our sins, destroy our foes and be always with 
us." The Hindus prayed at daybreak to the Aswins, the creators 
of a new day: 


"Anoint me with the honey of the bee, 
That I may speak forceful speech among men." 

The Russians and all the Slavs had honey-gods, and images of 
these deities were only seldom missing in their gardens. 

Jovial (Jove) feasts, carnal pleasures and boisterous revelries, 
characterized by overindulgence in food and intemperate drink- 
ing, were the daily amusement of the heathen deities. Without 
intoxicating beverages this could not be imagined. Wine, whisky, 
and beer did not exist in those days, and drinks made from honey 
were used instead. 

Mead (derived from the Hindu word madhu, honey), the 
drink of the Norse gods, was the nectar of Mt. Olympus. Odin, 
the chief of the Norsemen, patron of wisdom, culture and heroes, 
visited. Saga, the Goddess of History, and drank mead with her 
out of a golden goblet. 

Odin was supposed to have originated in Scythia and to have 
subdued with his tribes the whole of Northern Europe. He later 
became the Anglo-Saxon Woden and the Wotan of the Niebelun- 
gen. Odin, after his birth, was exposed as a helpless child. He was 
stabbed and hung on a tree. Ymir freed him, healed his wounds 
and gave him some mead from the Wonder-Kettle of Oedroerir, 
which renewed his strength. But once Odin had tasted mead, he 
sacrificed his life to obtain the vessel. Odin gave the meal, which 
was put before him, to his wolves ; mead alone was ample food 
and drink for him. 

Odin and all his followers loved mead which they drank from 
their horns: 

"Went there at times a fair maid round the board, 

upfilling the mead-horns, — 
Blush'd she with downcast eyne, — in the mirrowing 

shield her image, 
Even as she blush'd too; — how it gladded the 

deep-drinking champions!" 


Odin's principal pleasures were carnage, war, banquets, the 
"celestial" boar and mead, which virgins served to him in the 
skulls of his enemies. It is singular that in Scandinavian languages 
the word "Skol" (skull) is used when they drink to the health of 
people. It, undoubtedly, originated from the legend of Odin. 

"Their banquet is the mighty chine 
Exhaustless, the stupendous boar; 
Virgins of immortal line 
Present the goblet foaming o'er; 
Of heroes' skulls the goblet made 
With figur'd deaths and snakes of gold inlaid." 

Penrose thus opens the Carousal of Odin: 

"Fill the honey'd bev'rage high, 
Fill the skulls, 'tis Odin's cry! 
Heard ye not the powerful call, 
Thundering through the vaulted hall? 
Fill the meath and spread the board, 
Vassals of the grisly lord! — 
The feast begins, the skull goes round, 
Laughter shouts — the shouts resound." 

The Valkyries took the dead heroes to Valhalla, the slain war- 
riors' Paradise, where under a golden roof they continued to live 
in celestial glory. From the udders of the goat, Heidrun, savory 
mead was supposed to flow; "From out her teats there runneth 
forth so much mead that she filleth therewith each day a huge 
drinking vessel and all are made drunken thereby." (Gudrun 
mixed her mead with the blood of her spouse.) The meth was 
inexhaustible, like the celestial boar, which was eaten by day and 
restored by night. 

Alaric and Attila, the descendants of Odin, also favored mead. 

"Bid him welcome, maiden; haste, 
Let him our metheglin taste." 


That it sometimes led to mischief we may see in the Elder 

"For Asi sons the bowl I fill 

'With mead, the source of many an ill." 

It is possible that Attila, the Scourge of God, when he married 
the beautiful Ildiko (about 452 a.d.) and died from nose-bleed 
during the wedding festivities, had indulged in too much mead. 
When Ossian, the Gaelic poet (third century), referred to a 
liquor, "the joy and strength of shells," which so delighted his 
heroes, he probably meant mead. Shells were used by many an- 
cient races as drinking vessels, e.g., the Caledonians. Their de- 
scendants in some parts of the Highlands still use them today. The 
expression "Feast of Shells" alludes to this custom. 

In Nordic mythology, derived from the Eddas, honey is often 
mentioned. In Finnish mythology, the bees were implored to fly 
to the sun and moon, into the dwelling of the Creator ; to carry 
honey and health in their mouths and on their wings to the good, 
and wounds of fire and iron to the wicked. 

Bees were supposed to have made honey in Paradise and to be 
survivors of the Golden Age (which preceded the present state of 
vice and misery), when there was no need for worry, and happy 
simplicity for men and beasts prevailed. 



IN ALL ages honey, and indirectly its producer, the bee, were 
closely connected with the domestic life of the populace, and 
thus had a profound, almost magnetic influence on the people. 
The conception of honey was associated with everything that was 
holy, agreeable and beneficial. 

The origin of these traditions and customs is almost impossible 
to trace. They were handed down from one generation to another, 
for innumerable centuries. Though some traditions have certain 
national characteristics, most of them were not limited to defined 
territories, but were disseminated among nations far apart. The 
same popular customs are found among the Far Eastern, Asiatic, 
African and European races and the distances which they trav- 
eled, compared to our present day facilities of communication, 
must be considered enormous. 

Among the most ancient races, the Assyrians, Babylonians, 
Chaldeans, Phoenicians and Hebrews; in India, China, Persia, 
Egypt, Greece and Rome, in fact, among almost all cultural and 
primitive races, we find many customs and traditions associated 
with honey. These beliefs, closely connected and intimately inter- 
woven with their domestic, social and religious lives, offer plenti- 
ful and intriguing material for research. On solemn occasions, like 
births, weddings, funeral services, and during religious ceremonies 
honey played an important role. Honey was considered a sacred 
substance, symbolizing the purest and noblest in Nature. It was 
looked upon not only as a food and medicine, but as a talisman, a 
protector from all evil. Among the Germanic and Slavic races 
there was a belief that if one ate honey on Maundy Thursday he 


would gain protection for the year against all diseases, and if 
honey were sprinkled in a room on Holy Saturday it would kill 
all vermin. In Poland and Silesia honey was given to the cows and 
even rubbed into their eyes to prevent pestilence. To ward off 
contamination of wells, honey was poured into them. A string 
dipped into honey at sunrise and tied around a fruit tree would 
produce a rich fruit crop. Blessing the fields with honey was an 
old pagan custom. The ancient Germanic farmer, after he had 
finished plowing the first furrow, poured milk and honey into it. 
This was called Acker se gen. The ritual was especially employed 
when there was a suspicion that the fields were blighted by magic. 

Many beliefs and customs connected with honey existed among 
the populations of all countries. For example, stingy or quarrel- 
some people, it was believed, were never successful in producing 
honey. Every year, one had to send some honey and wax to the 
neighbors in appreciation of their courtesy in allowing the bees 
to feed on their flowers. Denying honey to the sick meant empty 
combs in the future. To refuse honey to children was a sin against 
Mary and Joseph, who had fed Child Christ. To send honey to 
a dying person, however, was bad luck. Selling honey was pro- 
hibited among many nations but barter was permitted. Men- 
struating women had to keep away from the hives, otherwise 
the honey would turn sour. 

A tree in which wild bees had nested and stored their honey 
was reputed to possess occult powers. Girls would carry a splinter 
from such trees to entertainments to assure themselves of being 
well supplied with dancing partners. Farmers carried the branches 
with them when they drove their cattle to market, with the expec- 
tation of securing good buyers. The Slavs called a bee-tree a lucky 
tree, and a branch of it, broken off" on St. Andrew's day, was 
considered a lucky charm. In Finland there is a belief that if a 
girl bakes a honey cake on Christmas Eve, keeps it in her bed 
overnight, and then gives a piece to her sweetheart, he will remain 
true to her through life. There was a widespread belief among 
many nations that where there were honey and bees, lightning 
would not strike and the devil would never approach. 


In enumerating only a few of the superstitious beliefs, customs 
and traditions connected with honey, the writer has thought it 
best to group them according to the three paramount and most 
solemn events of life, namely, birth, marriage and death. 


The use of honey was only rarely omitted during birth-rites. 
Among Babylonians, Iranians, Egyptians and Hebrews, honey 
and milk was the first nutriment which touched the lips of a new- 
born. Calvin mentions in Isaiah, Ch. IX, that, "the Jews to this 
day, give their infants a taste of honey and butter before they 
suck." The Galician Jews put a piece of honeycomb into the cradle 
before the infant is placed in it. During Hindu birth ceremonies, 
after a male infant is born and the umbilical cord is severed, the 
father touches the lips of the son with honey taken from a golden 
vessel and applies it with a golden spoon, at the same time giving 
the child its name. The Hindus hang a branch of the sacred tree, 
smeared with honey, over their doors with the invocation: "The 
young child cries to it ; the cow that has a young calf shall low to 
it." Amongst the Mohammedans in the Province of Punjab (N. 
W. India) the most respected member of the family puts ghutti 
(made of honey) into the mouth of the infant as its first food and 
holds honey over its head to ward off evil spirits. 

There were similar customs among the Greek, Roman, Slavic 
and all Anglo-Saxon races. The Scotch Highlanders, soon after 
the birth of a child, take a fresh branch of ash (melia, mel = 
honey) which secretes a sweet manna-like juice, burn it at one end 
and after smearing some honey on the other end, they daub with 
it the lips of the infant. The Scotch believe that honey, being a 
sacred substance, should be the first food to touch the palate of 
the new-born. An identical ceremony prevails in Finland and in 
the Caucasus. During birth ceremonies in modern Greece a chosen 
child smears honey on the lips of the infant with the prayer: "Be 
thou as sweet as this honey." To give honey to an infant as its 
first food was also a heathen Germanic custom. 


If honey were placed on the lips of an infant by some miracu- 
lous means, it was believed that the act bestowed the gift of poetic 
inspiration and eloquence or that the child would become a saint. 
Cicero described how Plato, yet an infant, was taken by his father 
to Mount Hymettus to offer sacrifices to the Muses. The child 
was laid in a thicket and while he slept a swarm of bees built a 
honeycomb in his mouth which presaged the singular sweetness 
of his discourses and his future eloquence. The same miracle hap- 
pened to Xenophon, Sophocles, Pindar, Virgil, Lucanus, St. 
Ambrose, St. John Chrysostomus, St. Dominic, St. Isidor and 
many others. Among the Mohammedans, there is a superstition 
that if one dreams of a bee he will become a great singer. The bee 
was a symbol of the Koran. In Hungary the population believed 
that when a son was born to the King, the bees put honey on his 
lips for good luck. Homer was nursed by priestesses whose breasts 
distilled honey. Zeus, the god of Mount Olympus, was nursed on 
honey. The Greeks and Teutons believed that honey conferred 

(Thomas Huxley, the famous biologist, humorously referred 
in his biography to the magic power of honey to endow mellifluous 
eloquence. He deplored his lack of oratorical talent, because the 
power of speech gains higher places in Church and State than 
worth, ability or honest work. Huxley blamed his incompetency 
in this respect on a lamentable incident: "A neighboring beehive 
emitted a swarm and the new colony, pitching on the window sill, 
was making its way into the room when a horrified servant shut 
down the sash. If that well-meaning woman had sustained from 
her ill-timed interference the swarm might have settled on my 
lips and I should have been endowed with eloquence.") 

Once honey had touched the lips of an infant, the act was sup- 
posed to confer on it a certain magic spell. According to the ancient 
laws of Friesland, a father was permitted to expose an infant to its 
doom, but after the child had tasted honey and milk its life had 
to be spared. Hieron II as an infant was exposed in the fields by 
his father Hierocles, because the child was born to him by one 
of his servants. The bees cared for the foundling and fed him on 


honey. When the father learned of the miracle his attitude toward 
his son changed. The child was raised with great solicitude and 
received a liberal education. Hieron subsequently became a noted 
patron of literature and chief of the army, and as such won the 
battle of Mylae (296 b.c). After the victory he became king of 

When the Pharaoh of Egypt gave the order that all male 
Hebrew children should be destroyed by drowning them in the 
Nile, Jewish mothers were constrained to give birth to their chil- 
dren in the fields. The mother of Moses kept the future Prophet 
concealed for three months, and it would not be surprising if he 
also were brought up on honey. This might account for his wis- 
dom, eloquence and prophetic powers. According to the Biblical 
legend (Exod. R. 23: 8), the exposed children were given two 
pebbles, from one of which they obtained oil, and from the other, 


"Und suss wie der Honig 
1st der Ehestand." 
(And sweet as honey is wedlock.) 

In nuptial ceremonies and in the matrimonial lives of most 
ancient nations and of many of the primitive races to this day, 
honey has played just as important a role as in birth-rites. In 
Egypt, honey was considered such an essential substance that in 
every marriage contract the bridegroom had to promise to supply 
his bride yearly with a definite amount of honey. When the nup- 
tial knot was tied, the bridegroom said, "I take you for my wife 
and bind myself to furnish you annually with twenty-four hins 
(32 pounds) of honey" (Brugsh). During Hindu wedding cere- 
monies honey offering was an important function. The bridegroom 
kissed the bride and said: "This is honey, the speech of my tongue 
is honey, the honey of the bee is dwelling in my mouth and in 
my teeth dwells peace." During the course of the services the 


By Lucas Cranach, 15^0 
(Kopenhagen Statens Museum) 


By Lucas Cranach 
(Villa Borghese, Ro»:.-) 





bride's forehead, mouth, eyelids, ears and genitals were anointed 
with honey. In Bengal, the Brahmans believed that if the bride's 
pudenda were covered with honey it would produce fertility. 
When the Dekan Hindu bridegroom called on the bride, honey 
and curds were offered to him with the object of scaring away evil 
spirits. The Hindu firmly believed that honey had the magic 
power to ward off demoniacal spirits, so much feared during 
marriage ceremonies. 

We find similar customs among African natives. In Galla-land, 
a country bordering on Abyssinia, honey was an important food 
and a principal commodity of trade. Before a wedding the Galla 
bridegroom had to bring a fair quantity of honey to the intended 
bride. If the amount were unsatisfactory, the bride and her family 
rejected him as a future husband. The Galla women have the 
reputation of being the most independent among the women of 
Eastern Africa. 

In Morocco, the wedding guests are offered honey before the 
ceremonies. During the nuptial rites no honey is used because it is 
reserved for the cult of the dead. After the wedding the groom 
feasts on honey to which also the Moroccans attribute a powerful 
aphrodisiac effect. The nuptial supper of a Roman couple con- 
sisted of milk, honey and poppy-juice. 

On the European continent among the Greeks, Nordic, Ger- 
manic, and Slavic races honey had an important function before, 
during and after wedding festivities. The Poles sang a song at 
weddings: "Diligent is the life on a farm, like the life of the bee, 
and marriage is sweet as honey." When a Polish bride reached 
her home after the ceremonies, she was led three times around the 
fire-place, her feet were washed and when she entered the bridal 
chamber she was blindfolded and honey was rubbed on her lips. 
In Hungary the bride baked honey cake during full moon and 
gave it to the groom to secure his love. During the celebration of 
marriages the young couples were fed with honey by wise women. 
This was supposed to sweeten their wedded life. In Croatia the 
parents of the bridegroom await him at the threshold of the house 
with a pitcher of honey. The container must not be made of glass. 


When the groom appears he asks his mother what is in the pitcher. 
The answer is: "My son, it contains my honey and thy good 
will." When the bride enters the house she is offered by her 
mother-in-law a spoonful of honey. The spoon is several times 
withdrawn but finally with a sudden dash is put into her mouth. 
The bride is given, besides, a nosegay and a cup of honey. While 
the bride walks around the house she spreads honey over each 
threshold and door. In Dalmatia and Herzegovina there is the 
same custom ; even the wedding ring is dipped into honey during 
the ceremonies. In Slovakia, milk and honey; in Silesia, cooked 
barley and honey j in Bulgaria, bread and honey are given to the 
bride. The Bulgarians offer a special soup to the bridal couple, 
called okrap, which is made from wine and honey. The wedding 
cake baked with honey is broken over the head of the bridegroom 
and some honey is rubbed on his face. The woman who anoints 
the groom exclaims: "Be fond of each other as the bees are fond 
of this honey." In Serbia, Albania, Rumania and Turkey similar 
customs prevail, especially among the gipsy tribes. 

During Swedish wedding festivities honey was liberally used. 
According to ancient records in 1500, when the daughter of a 
wealthy Swede, named Krogenose, was married, half a ton of 
honey was consumed. In 1567, during the wedding feast of Sigrid 
Sture, 453 jars of honey were used. The Finns also did justice to 
honey and, more so, to honey drinks. 

In modern Greece some of the ancient customs still persist. 
When the bride arrives at the groom's cottage, his mother stands 
waiting at the door with a jar of honey of which the bride must 
partake that the words of her lips may become sweet as honey. 
The remaining contents of the jar are smeared on the lintel of 
the door, that strife may never enter the home. In Rhodes, when 
the groom arrives in his new home, he dips his finger into a cup of 
honey and traces a cross on the door. 

In Brittany, Westphalia and Lincolnshire the betrothals are 
announced to the bees and the hives are decorated with red or 
white ribbons; part of the wedding cakes are placed before them 


and the new couples -must introduce themselves to the bees, other- 
wise their married life would surely be unlucky. 

In Hungary, where honey always was an important food, the 
production had fallen off considerably after the World War. The 
town of Kecskemet decided that every newly married couple 
should receive from the municipality a beehive and a swarm of 
bees as a wedding present to encourage apiculture. (If one — or 
both — of the contracting parties were stung, the city fathers may 
also be blamed for it.) 

We could not very well close this chapter without reflecting on 
the meaning of a popularly used term, honeymoon.* Some philolo- 
gists (probably with conjugal experiences) have suggested that 
this sweetest period of wedlock was compared with the moon be- 
cause as soon as this celestial body reaches a full phase it com- 
mences to wane, not unlike the affection of wedded couples. 
Others have thought that the allusion stems from the ancient 
custom whereby the bride and groom were wont to eat honey and 
drink mead during the first four weeks of their married life. That 
a honeymoon is not necessarily "sweet" can be adjudged from 
Hood's poem: 

"The moon, the moon, so silver and cold, 
Her fickle temper has often been told — 
Now shady — now bright and sunny; 
But of all the lunar things that change, 
The one that shows most fickle and strange, 
And takes the most eccentric range, 
Is the moon — so called — of honey!" 

2 . DEATH 

Honey had a wider use and more significance during burial 
services and funeral rites than during ceremonies for either birth 

* The era between the years 1898 to 1902 was called the honeymoon feriod 
of American industry. Collective bargaining was introduced and the accord be- 
tween employers and employees was compared with the harmony of newlyweds. 


or marriage. Many ancient races, among them the Egyptians, 
believed that the souls of the departed continued to live and 
required food for their future maintenance, otherwise they would 
starve. According to ancient concept, the body was destroyed, but 
not the soul, which survived and was supposed to return to earth. 
Death was considered not so much the departure of the body but 
that of the soul, freed of its fetters, in flight to a future destina- 
tion. Honey, as a rule, symbolized death among the ancients, an 
allusion to the sweetness of death, contrasted with the bitterness 
of life. The Greeks also thought that life was bitter and death 
sweet. Honey was offered to Hecate, the Chthonian Artemis. 
Hecate's by-name was Melitodes (honey-like). 

There was no other more appropriate and favored food for the 
dead than honey. It was an established custom among the Hindus, 
Chinese, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans to place 
honey next to the corpse. Similar practices were in vogue among 
the ancient Mexicans, the North American Indians and the Eski- 
mos. The Japanese supplied not only food and drink but also 
clothing for their dead. 

Before burial, the so-called funeral repast was placed next to 
the bier and rations were also stored in the graves to supply the 
needs of the deceased. On solemn occasions, especially on death 
anniversaries, ritual services were held by relatives and friends 
during which the most favored provisions of the departed ones 
were laid on the burial places or in the tombs. Honey and wine 
were often sprinkled over the graves and over the funeral pyres. 

In the various copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead which 
are the most ancient scripts, originating as far back as the Pyramid 
Age, honey is often mentioned. In the tombs of kings, next to the 
mummies, jars of honey were placed. When found, this honey 
was still in a fairly good state of preservation. The great papyrus 
of Rameses III records that during his reign of thirty-one years, 
millions of jars of honey were purchased from the royal treasury 
for sacrificial offerings. There is an inscription on a tomb in the 
Necropolis of Abidos: "The King appoints that a sum of three 
and a half pounds of silver from the Treasury of the Temple of 


Osiris be given in order to cover the daily demand for one measure 
of honey, to be used at the ceremony of the worship of the dead, 
for his beloved Naromantha." The picture (Plate XIV) shows 
how the Royal Butler, accompanied by the sacred bull, carried 
honeycombs and lotus blooms to the tomb of the royal dead. 

Honey sacrifices consisting of honey, honey cakes and edible 
plants were often tendered to the Egyptian gods. The lips of the 
priests were anointed with honey and part of the sacrificial food 
was later consumed by the believers (Plutarch, Op. Ch. 68). 

During the funeral rites of many nations, the wish was ex- 
pressed that the departed ones might find a land where there was 
plenty of honey. The Mohammedan dream was a land with rivers 
of honey j this was also Mohammed's promise to the faithful and 
his true conception of Paradise. 

The Greeks and Romans excelled all other nations in bringing 
honey sacrifices to the graves. In the Iliad Achilles offers honey 
at the bier of his friend Patroclus, who was killed after he had 
driven back the Trojans. 

"And he sat therein two-handled jars of honey and oil, 
Leaning them against the bier." 

Achilles also sprinkled honey on the grave as an offering to the 
Chthonian gods. 

Aeschylus describes in The Persians the honey libations which 
Queen Atossa tenders to her husband, Darius: 

"I return, and bear 
Libations soothing to the father's shade 
In the son's cause; delicious milk, that foams 
White from the sacred heifer; liquid honey, 
Extract of flow'rs." 

Euripides pictures Iphigenia at the grave of her brother bring- 
ing honey sacrifices: 

"For him, as dead, with pious care 
This goblet I prepare; 


And on the bosom of the earth shall flow 
Streams from the heifer mountain-bred, 
The grape's rich juice, and mix'd with these, 
The labor of the yellow bees, 
Libations soothing to the dead. 
Give me the oblation: let me hold 
The foaming goblet's hallowed gold." 

In the Odyssey, Circe advises Ulysses upon entering Hades to 
sprinkle the shadows of the dead with honey, milk and wine. 
Hesiod's grave in Locris was deluged with honey by the pious 
shepherds. Zarathusthra paid homage in similar manner. 

We learn from one of the dramas of Lucian, the celebrated 
Greek satirist, why honey was poured over the graves. Charon, 
the boatman of the underworld's black river, ascends to the world 
above and with the guidance of Hermes surveys the realm of 
mortals. The first thing he wishes to see is, of course, the places 
where the dead bodies are inhumed. The ferryman expresses his 
astonishment upon seeing there all the honey and mead, which 
mortals call libations, poured over the graves in honor of the 

Charon exclaims: 

"Why, then, crown they 
These stones, and why with unguent rich anoint them? 
And why do some, heaping a funeral pile 
Before the mounds, and digging out a trench, 
Burn sumptuous viands there, and in the ditches 
Pour, if I right conjecture, mead and wine?" 

Hermes explains: 

"I know not ferryman, what use it can be 
To those in Hades; but it is believed 
That souls returning from the world below 
Will come to supper — very probable ! 
Hovering above the savor and the smoke, 
And from the trench will drink up the metheglin." 


Supplying the dead with food was originally a heathen custom 
which later became a Christian ritual. In Russia and many other 
countries, even today, a jar of honey is placed next to the corpse 
and some is desposited in the grave. The Russian kutja (death 
food) is made of flour, poppy seeds and honey. Some of it is 
consumed by the funeral guests, the rest left for the dead. Honey 
cake, as a sacrificial offering to the deity, had an Indo-Germanic 

Among many African tribes, placing honey next to the bier and 
in the grave, is still a custom. The Indians gave their dead honey 
and rice. 

Honey was considered by all ancients a sacred substance, the 
purest and best thing in the world, the symbol of eternal bliss. 
There was an old belief that if a corpse was preserved in honey 
it would reincarnate. Democritus firmly believed that. There are 
many mythical tales that people who perished in honey revived. 
The ancients undoubtedly were impressed with the efficiency of 
honey in protecting organic matter from decay and the origin of 
the belief in the miraculous preserving power of honey can be 
ascribed to this appreciation. 

Ancient cultural states and also primitive races used their best 
efforts to preserve their dead and prevent decomposition of the 
body. The simplest method was to expose the corpse to the influ- 
ence of the sun-rays until the body fluids evaporated and the 
tissues dried up. This is still practiced by some savages. 

The Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Assyrians and Arabs 
used honey and wax for embalming their prominent dead. Herod- 
otus records that the Babylonians buried their dead in honey. He 
also relates the same about the Assyrians, who, however, first 
covered the corpses with wax. The old Spartan Kings were em- 
balmed in honey, as were Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, and 
Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great, as Statius records, 
ordered before his death that his remains be preserved in honey. 
Aristotle, his teacher, had undoubtedly made him appreciate the 
conserving power of honey. Aristotle wrote an extensive thesis on 
this phase of honey, which however was lost in the conflagration 


of the library in Alexandria. Strabo described, in his fourteenth 
book, how the body of Alexander the Great was placed in a golden 
coffin filled with white honey. Herod I, King of Judea (40-4 
b.c), the superstitious despot and tyrant, more hated than any 
other person of his age, in a fit of jealousy ordered his beautiful 
wife, Marianne, to be executed} after which he kept the dead 
body in honey for seven years — because, he avowed, he loved her. 
Aristobulos, whom Caesar had ordered to Syria and who was 
poisoned by the followers of Pompeius, was also embalmed in 
honey, until Anthony sent the remains to Judea to be entombed 
in the royal sepulchre. The Assyrians and Persians (Herodotus I. 
198) covered corpses with wax and then buried them in honey. 
The dead body of Agesilaus was covered with wax, we learn from 
Plutarch. "The attendants of Agesilaus had no honey to preserve 
the body (he died in a foreign country), so they embalmed it 
with melted wax and thus carried it home." Cornelius Nepos and 
Plutarch ascribed the adoption of the use of wax to a scarcity of 
honey. Homer in the Odyssey (XXIV. 68) describes the funeral 
of Achilles, "buried in the garments of the gods and in sweet 
honey." The Iliad (XIX. 38 and XXIII. 170) also renders an 
account of how the dead were anointed with honey. An old Egyp- 
tian script mentions that a corpse in honey mummifies in 120 

The secret of the remarkable art of Egyptian embalming is 
entirely lost. This is not surprising because the mysterious process 
was unknown even to the contemporary Egyptians. The embalm- 
ers, as a rule, inherited the proficiency from their ancestors. All 
we know from the Greek and Roman writers of antiquity is that 
the contents of the cranial, pleural and abdominal cavities were 
removed and filled with aromatic herbs, fragrant spices, balsams, 
oil of cedar, etc. That the corpse afterwards was placed in honey 
or wrapped in honey-soaked bandages seems more than probable 
because several allusions in the Egyptian papyri intimate that 
honey converts a corpse into a mummy in the course of years. 
Columella repeatedly mentions the embalming of bodies in honey. 
The honey-loving philosopher Democritus was also preserved in 


honey. Abd' Allatif relates that some men, searching for treasures 
in the Egyptian tombs near the Pyramids, discovered a sealed 
cruse and upon opening it they found that it contained honey. 
They began to dip their bread into it when one of them noticed 
hairs upon his fingers. The jug was carefully examined and was 
found to enclose the body of a small child in a perfect state of 
preservation. After the body was entirely withdrawn, rich jewels 
and brilliant ornaments with which the child was covered, were 

In Persia burial in honey also was practiced. In one of their 
manuscripts there is even a prescription for making mummies for 
profit. A red-haired man had to be fed until he reached the age 
of thirty. Then he was to be drowned in honey and drugs and the 
vessel sealed. After 150 years, according to the script, the honey 
transformed the corpse into a mummy. The reason for supplying 
mummies for commercial purposes was because powdered mum- 
mies were credited with curative value for both internal and 
external diseases. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
mummy-powder was in great demand and sold in the apothecaries 
for a good price. For this reason many tombs were plundered. 
The Jews in the East and the French were the best customers and 
used it for various maladies (Ambroise Pare). The powder had 
an aromatic sweet-acrid taste. It was used externally for wounds 
to prevent gangrene. The Arabs use it even today for the purpose. 
The belief in the Middle Ages in the curative effect of honey 
seems to suggest that the substance was used for embalming. There 
is a sepulchral inscription in Thelmessos (Greece), of the first 
century a.d. : 

"Here lies Boethos, Muse-bedewed, undying, 
Joy hath he of sweet sleep in honey lying." 

In the famous medieval Romanesque cathedral of Bamberg, on 
the tomb of Henry II (Saint), Emperor of the Holy Roman 
Empire, who died in 1024, there is the following inscription: 


"Sus lit er da in siner stift 
di'er het erbouwen, als diu bin ir wift 
uz manege bluete wurket, daz man honc-seim nennet." 

("He lies in the minster he built, as the bee her web 
from many a blossom works, which we name honey-juice.") 

When King Edward I of England, who died in 1307, was 
exhumed in 1774, his hands and face were found to be well pre- 
served. This condition was attributed to the fact that they had 
been coated with a thin layer of wax and honey. 

In Burma, during the rainy season, the eviscerated corpses are 
preserved temporarily in honey, until relatives are able to pro- 
cure dried fire-wood for the customary cremation. If the dead 
person buried in honey is a holy Buddhistic monk and the corpse 
is removed from the coffin for cremation, the honey is dispensed 
in one ounce jars and sold at auction. Often fortunes are realized 
from such sales. The Burmese firmly believes that a drop of this 
honey will cure any affliction. 

The ancient belief that anyone who drowned in honey would 
revive, is best illustrated in the legend of Glaucos. 

Glaucos, the son of the Cretan King Minos, while playing with 
a mouse (the symbol of death) fell into a jar of honey and 
drowned. Minos searched for him in vain. At last he appealed to 
the oracle of Apollo and only under its guidance did he find the 
body of his son. Apollo announced to Minos: "A monstrosity has 
been born in your land and the person who will be able to discover 
its meaning shall find and restore your son." The whole country 
looked for the monstrosity, which was very soon found. It proved 
to be a calf which changed its color thrice daily j first it was white, 
then it became red and finally black. Minos summoned all his 
augurs to find out what this signified. The seer Polydos was the 
one who could construe its meaning. He thought the calf repre- 
sented a mulberry tree, the fruit of which is first white, afterwards 


red and when ripe, black. Minos ordered 
Polydos to find his son. At first he hesitated 
but after he was compelled, he commenced 
his search for the lost son of the King. Polydos, 
during his long wanderings, passed a honey- 
bin, on top of which an owl was perched, 
driving away some bees. He considered this 
an omen, entered the bin and found Glaucos, 
drowned in a vessel of honey. (Fig. 10.) 

Polydos notified the King of the recovery 
of Glaucos' body. The seer was locked in a 
vault with the corpse and ordered to resusci- 
tate it. A snake soon crawled toward the body 
of Glaucos, but Polydos killed the snake. An- 
other snake, bearing an herb, laid this over the 
dead snake, which at once revived. Polydos 
then placed the same herb over the body of 
Glaucos, who immediately came to life. Polydos received royal 
rewards for his deeds and was discharged, laden with treasures. 

The circumstance that the bees which tried to enter the honey- 
bin were driven away by the owl, was symbolical of the fact that 
the bees, representing the soul of the deceased, were using their 
best efforts to regain their former habitation and were prevented 
only by the sinister influence of the owl. 

fig. IO. Old Cretan 


Polydos finding 

Glaucos in a honey 


(Courtesy Hilda M. Ran- 

sotne, The Sacred Bee, 



THERE is no better illustration of the belief in the magic 
power of honey than in the romantic tales of the Kalevala, 
the national epic of the Finns. Through the magnetic effect of 
honey, steel was produced, beer was brewed, the dog created, and 
with the help of honey's blissful charm wounds were healed and 
the dead restored to life. 

In Finland, the Land of the Thousands of Lakes, we find many 
delightful fables intimately connected with honey. The Finnish 
supposedly are a Mongolian race, like the Hungarians, Mordvins 
and other nations of kindred tongues. Apiculture was far advanced 
among them. Honey has been in great favor in Finland since time 
immemorial. The Kalevala, the epic poem of Finland, which is 
comparable only to the Iliad, Niebelungen, or Roland legends, 
often alludes to honey. 

The Kalevala (the abode of heroes, a bardic designation of 
Finland) is a charming national epic and one of the most sig- 
nificant poetic works in existence. Its origin and introduction, in 
addition to its literary value, are extremely instructive from a 
historical viewpoint. The old sagas, the mythical and allegorical 
folktales and proverbs which the Kalevala contains, in the form 
of songs, ballads and incantations, were on the lips of the ancient 
people of that cold, bleak and desolate country for over a thou- 
sand years before they were collected by Zacharias Topelius and 
Elias Lonnrot, both practicing physicians of Helsingfors, and 
their collaborators, who spent many years of travel in Finland, 
Lapland and Russia, recording the popular songs and stories of 
the peasantry and fishermen. They traveled through forests, 

marshes and ice-plains, on horseback, in sledges drawn by rein- 

23 6 


deer, in canoes and other primitive conveyances to collect the 
legends and precious runes from the lips of the minstrels. The 
epic, filled with the power of magic, is a Herculean prototype of 
unwritten history. Longfellow must have had great admiration 
for the beauty of the Kalevala because the Hiawatha is a faithful 
imitation of it, both in respect to matter as well as to meter. 

The enormous influence of the Kalevala on the Finnish popu- 
lation, since it was first published (1835), is best proven by the 
remarkable transformation, real regeneration of Finland. The 
disclosure of these romantic tales of wonderful heroism aroused 
patriotism and resulted in a surprisingly universal civic and moral 
revival of the nation. Formerly the upper classes of Finland had 
been absorbed by Sweden and Russia, while the majority of the 
population, as William Sharp remarked, became "a listless and 
inert mass." 

Today Finland, after long lethargy and constant retrogression, 
is a new-born progressive country, full of hope, pride and ambi- 
tion. The fact that Finland is the only country paying its inter- 
national debts, is the best evidence. Of course, Providence is kind. 
Finland is a poor (which may be the reason why it pays its debts), 
barren country, otherwise it would long ago have been swallowed 
up by enterprising nations. Ethiopia, which is supposed to be one 
of the richest countries in the world, should envy Finland its 

Some of the legends from the Kalevala associated with honey, 
are as follows: 


Kapo, the beautiful daughter of Osmotar, was supposed to have 
invented beer. She took six seeds of barley, seven leaves of hop, 
and mixed them in seven pitchers of water. 

"On the fire she sets the caldron 
Boils the barley, hops and water 
Lets them steep and seethe and bubble." 

(Translation by John Martin Crawford) 


The concoction did not ferment and had no taste. 

"What will bring the effervescence, 
Who will add the needed factor, 
That the beer may foam and sparkle, 
May ferment and be delightful?" 

A snow-white squirrel was commanded to fetch some cones from 
the pine trees, and the weasel to gather some of the bear's saliva, 
"the foam from the lips of anger", to serve as yeast. All efforts 
were in vain — the beer would not foam. 

Kalevatar, a sparkling maiden, found a little shell lying on the 
ground, picked it up, and gave it to Kapo. From it, with the aid 
of Kapo's magic virginal fingers, a bee issued. The newly created 
bee was instructed to fly to an island, far over the seas, where a 
maiden peacefully slumbered under honey-bearing blooms, and 
collect nectar from these flowers. The agile creature flew off in 
haste and did what was ordered. The bee soon returned with the 
honey, which was quickly added to the stubborn mixture. Imme- 
diately, the foam rose in the vessel, and the new beverage was 
found to have a wonderful taste. 

"Thus was brewed the beer of Northland, 
At the hands of Osmo's daughter; 
This the origin of brewing 
Beer from Kalew-hops and barley; 
Great indeed the reputation 
Of the ancient beer of Kalew 
Said to make the feeble hardy, 
Famed to dry the tears of women, 
Famed to cheer the broken-hearted, 
Make the aged young and supple, 
Make the timid brave and mighty, 
Make the brave men ever braver, 
Fill the heart with joy and gladness, 
Fill the mind with wisdom-sayings, 
Fill the tongue with ancient legends, 
Only makes the fool more foolish." 



Ilmarinen, the master-blacksmith, the eternal metal-worker 
whose fame and wizardry were known over the seven seas, made 
arms and tools for all the people. The water was not strong 
enough to make his steel sharp, so he implored the bee to fetch 
him some honey from the field-flowers. 

"Little bee, thou tiny birdling 
Bring me honey on thy winglet 
On thy tongue, I pray thee, bring me 
Sweetness from the fragrant meadows, 
From the little cups of flowers 
From the tips of seven petals 
That we thus may aid the water 
To produce the steel from iron." 

The cunning wasp overheard the command and flying much 
faster than the bee returned with some venom of a viper. Ilmari- 
nen thought he had obtained honey, and commenced to harden 
the steel with the water which was mixed with poison. Thereafter, 
all the wounds produced by his arms and tools were mortal, kill- 
ing even the brothers of those who used them. 

While constructing a boat, the famous minstrel Wainamoinen, 
the wisdom-singer, severely injured his hand with a hatchet 
forged by Ilmarinen. When the blood gushed in streams from the 
wound, the singer desperately cried for help. An old man was 
passing by and with magic words stopped the flow of blood. The 
man then sent his young son for a healing honey-balm, made from 
the finest blooms of the fields. 

"There to make a healing balsam, 
From the herbs of tender fibre, 
From the healing plants and flowers, 
From the stalks secreting honey, 
From the roots, and leaves, and blossoms." 

He rubbed the balm on the wound, and it soon healed. The leg- 
ends linked to Wainamoinen resemble very much those about 


Orpheus. Wainamoinen had the epithet: "Orpheus of the North". 
Just as Orpheus charmed the birds and beasts with the golden 
tones of his music, so Wainamoinen lured, with his songs, the 
wolves from their lairs, the fish from the rivers, and the birds 
from the trees. 


Lemminkainen, the handsome young hero, in quest of a wife, 
wooed the beautiful daughter of Pohyola. Before their betrothal, 
Lemminkainen was put through severe tests and while perform- 
ing one heroic act, he was bitten by a venomous snake and died. 
His enemies cut his body asunder and threw it piecemeal into 
deep water. 

Lemminkainen's devoted aged mother, in the meanwhile, was 
sitting at home anxiously waiting for his return. Suddenly she 
noticed that blood was oozing from the hero's hairbrush. She had 
a foreboding that her son had suffered a sad fate. She left her 
home in anguish, weeping and trembling, in search for the hero. 
She questioned the trees, the rivers, the moon about her lost son. 
They would not tell her. Finally the Sun informed her of the 
sorrowful event. She immediately began a search for the sub- 
merged parts of the hero and after great effort she succeeded in 
recovering them from the depths of the water. The grieving 
mother assembled the parts but, though she used all known magic, 
she could not create life in the dead body. 

The mother appealed to Mehilainen (little bee),* and begged 
her to collect the nectar of the finest blossoms. (Plate XV.) 

"Tiny bee thou honey-birdling 
Lord of all the forest flowers, 
Fly away and gather honey 
Bring to me the forest sweetness. . . ." 

* In the Finnish language, meh means bee (the same as in Hungarian), and 
Mehilainen is a diminutive of meh. In both these related languages, a diminu- 
tive is frequently used as an endearing term. 


(Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art) 


Mehilainen (little bee) departs to fetch honey-balm for 

the anxious mother 



In a short time, the bee returned, dripping with honey. The 
mother made a healing-balm from it and rubbed some over the 
body, but the embrocation had no effect. 

The mother again asked the bee for help: "Little Bee, you 
queen of the flowers, fly for me again but in another direction. 
Look for a little island, far across the seven seas, where you will 
find some magic nectar, which will produce wonders." The little 
bee started upon the journey and flew for three days without 
interruption, until at last she found the isle with meadows rich 
in honey. 

"There the honey was preparing 
There the magic balm distilling, 
In the tiny earthen vessels, 
In the burnished copper kettles 
Smaller than a maiden's thimbles, 
Smaller than the tips of fingers. . . ." 

The island was filled with jars of healing honey-balm. Mehi- 
lainen, after a short rest, took seven jars into her lap, seven on 
her shoulders and so, well laden, commenced her return trip. The 
mother tried again to rub the wonder balsam over the assembled 
body of her son, but still there was no sign of life. 

Once more, she addressed the bee: "Little Bee, you bird of the 
air, please fly for the third time! Go over the clouds, up to the 
ninth heaven! You will find plenty of honey there which will 
surely produce results. The Lord has blessed this honey, to resus- 
citate His children." Mehilainen answered: "How will I, such a 
tiny creature, ever get there? No! My strength will give out and 
I will lose my way!" But the mother encouraged her: "Just fly, 
my little Darling ; a gorgeous highway leads there and you cannot 
miss your way." The bee acquiesced, flew into the air, and soon 
reached the azure sky. She passed the Moon and she passed the 
Sun, flying among constellations of golden stars until she reached 
the omnipotent Jumala's castle. ( Jumala, in Finnish, the Supreme 
Creator and also sky.) 


Here the balm, made of the health-giving juices of flowers, was 
waiting for her in golden and silver vessels. 

"On one side, heart-easing honey, 
On a second, balm of joyance, 
On the third, life-giving balsam. 
Here the magic bee, selecting. . . ." 

The faithful bee, collecting only the best from all the urns, put 
a hundred little jars into her lap and a thousand jars on her back. 
Heavily laden, she started her homeward trip. The eager mother 
happily greeted the bee, tasted the honey, and found that it was 
the right compound. Immediately, she rubbed it over the body 
of her dead son with the words: "Wake up, my son, from your 
deep slumber; get up from your sick-bed!" 

Lo and behold! The miraculous honey, for which the bee had 
flown for days, worked; the blood commenced to circulate, the 
cheeks became flushed and Lemminkainen raised himself and 
uttered words. So the faithful little bee, which had made the 
wearisome trip through the immeasurable skies to secure the magic 
honey, brought back life to the dead. 

In the Kalevala the bee is glorified by one of the most appro- 
priate epithets with which she was ever honored, namely, "the 
bird of the Universe." 


The hostess of Northland drove her cattle daily to the mead- 
ows. In fear of the mighty bear, the honey-eater, which robbed 
her of the best cattle, she fetched from Heaven a cornucopia, blew 
into it, and soon the wide pastures were covered with honey; she 
begot even a golden well filled with honey, from which her cows 
drank. She suggested to the bear: "Otso, you beloved honey-paw, 
you pride of the woods, here you are now lavishly provided with 
honey; be content and spare my cattle." 

"Thou shalt feed on milk and honey, 
Honey is the food of strangers." 


Otso agreed to the bargain and was perfectly satisfied. From that 
time on, the herd was unmolested. 

There were nine diseases in Northland: 

"Colic, Pleurisy and Fever, 
Ulcer, Plague and dread Consumption, 
Gout, Sterility and Cancer." 

Wainamoinen, "the wise and wonderful enchanter", hastens to 
his people's rescue. 

"Wainamoinen heats the bathrooms, 
Heats the blocks of healing sandstone 
With the magic wood of Northland 
Gathered by the sacred river. 
Then a honey heat he wakens, 
Fills the rooms with healing vapors." 

Then he prays to Ukko, the Great Spirit of Finland: 

"On the heated blocks of sandstone 
May the water turn to honey 
Laden with the balm of healing. 
Send us mingled rain and honey, 
Balsam from the great physician 
To remove this plague of Northland." 

The "eternal wise enchanter" then: 

"Rubbed his sufferers with balsams 
Rubbed the tissues, red and painful, 
With the balm of healing flowers 
Balsams made of herbs enchanted." 


"The eternal wisdom singer 
Thus expelled the nine diseases 
Healed the tribes of Kalevala 
Saved his people from destruction." 


The dog was created by the virginal fingers of the purest 
maiden of Pohyola. She was engaged in melting virgin honey, 
when some of it hardened on her fingers and from that the first 
dog was created. It was a neat, sweet, white-collared creature that 
did not bite "in the very least." 



HONEY is frequently mentioned in the works of all poets 
and writers, especially by the oriental and classical writers. 
Honey represented to them all things that are sweet and pleasing 
to the palate, to the mind and to the heart. Honey, like the bees, 
was a symbol of spirituality and also of poetic inspiration; it was 
looked upon as psychic nourishment — the food of the saints, car- 
ried by the bees even to the thrones of the gods. Metaphorical 
references to honey are found in innumerable phrases, names, 
proverbs, and symbols j to all intents and purposes alluding to its 
many noteworthy characteristics. Honey and the hive shared in 
popularity. Honey and the sting of the bee were often contrasted. 

Bees were called by the Greeks and Romans the Birds of the 
Muses. The golden bees were supposed to have gathered honey 
for the poets on thyme-covered Mount Hymettus to sweeten 
their verses. 

Hindu poetry is literally drenched in honey. Madhukara 
(honeyborn) had three meanings: bee, lover and moon. There are 
many romantic Hindu tales associated with honey. 

In the Rig-Veda: 

"My tongue hath honey at the tip, and sweetest honey at the root. 
Thou yieldest to my wish and will, and shalt be mine and only mine. 
My coming in is honey sweet, and honey sweet my going forth ; 
My voice and words are sweet: I fain would be like honey in my look 
Around thee have I girt a zone of sugar-cane to banish hate 
That thou may'st be in love with me, my darling, never to depart." 



In Hindu mythology all delightful endowments were symbol- 
ized by honey. When mem-sahib (woman) was forged by 
Twasktrie, the Hindu Vulcan, he mixed a little honey in the raw 
material. The ingredients, by the way, were the following: The 
buoyancy of the leaves, the velvety gloss of the fawn, the bril- 
liancy of the sun's rays, the tears of the mist, the inconstancy of 
the winds, the trepidation of the hare, the vanity of the peacock, 
the softness of the dawn on the throat of the swallow, the hardness 
of the diamond, the sweetness of honey, the cruelty of the tiger, 
the warmth of fire, the chill of snow, the chatter of the jay, and 
the cooing of the dove. From these components he created 
Woman and presented her to man. (Evidently, with a bountiful 
spirit of giving "something to remember me by.") 

According to the Greek and Roman literature, honey possessed 
the magic power to confer the genius of poetry and eloquence ; in 
Hindu mythology, even wisdom. 

The deep influence which honey always has had on mankind is 
demonstrated by the innumerable geographic designations which 
include the name honey. In India, Egypt, the Holy Land; Greece, 
Italy, and in fact, on the entire European Continent and in Africa 
there are many names of towns, mountains, lakes and rivers which 
are associated with the word honey. 

In Greece there are several towns called Melita or Melite. The 
classical name of the Island of Malta was Melita (Sicilian spell- 
ing). Melville, means honey-town; Melrose, honey-rose. In 
Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Slavic countries we find 
innumerable names derived from bees and honey. Dardanos, a 
village near the Strait of Dardanelles, means bee-town (darda in 
Turkish, bee). 

In England there are Honington (honey farm) in Suffolk; 
Honeydon in Bedfordshire; Honnington and Honiley in War- 
wickshire; Honeybourne and Honeybrook in Worcestershire. 
There are several Clonmels (honey-meadow) in Ireland. 

In the United States: 


Honey, Mississippi Honeycreek, Iowa 

Honey, North Carolina Honey Creek, Oregon 

Honey Hill, South Carolina Honeycreek, Wisconsin 

Honey Bend, Illinois Honeyford, North Dakota 

Honey Creek, Illinois Honeygrove, Texas 

Honeybrook, Pennsylvania Honey Island, Louisiana 

Honeygrove, Pennsylvania Honey Lake, California 

Honeycreek, Indiana Honey ville, Oklahoma 
Honey Falls, New York 

The word amber also seems to be associated with honey. It was 
believed that amber was anointed with honey (ambrosia). Amber 
is an old English name for pitcher. Amberstone and Honeycrock 
in Sussex are adjoining. In Wiltshire there are Ambresbury and 
Mount Ambrosius. The name Melleray (Brittany), a town where 
the Trappist monks established an abbey, was derived from 
mellearium (apiary). The good old Irish name Mahoney is prob- 
ably a contraction of the words my honey. 

Melos (song), Melpomene, melodrama, melody, melon, mel- 
low (rich in flavor), mellifluous, mellify, etc., etc., are derived 
from the root, mel = honey. "My honey" is a favorite expression 
of the Southern negro. In old Latin writings, we also find fuella 
mellita (honey girl). Honey boy is a recent acquisition. The verb 
honey means to flatter, cajole. 

The expression sardonic laugh also originated from honey. On 
the Island of Sardinia, there is a plant from which honey is col- 
lected by the bees and if this is consumed it will cause a grim, 
convulsive, often fatal laugh. 

* * * 

There are many legendary myths and fairy tales which glorify 
the bees, not only for industry, economy and the political perfec- 
tion of their state but especially for supplying mankind with 
heaven-born honey. James Northcote's fable, The Bee and the 
Ant, is a typical illustration. "Violent dispute once arose between 
the Bee and the Ant, each claiming superiority for prudence and 


industry} and, as neither of them would give up the point, they 
agreed to refer the decision of the great question to the decree of 
Apollo, who was fortunately at hand tending the cattle of Adme- 
tus. Accordingly, approaching the god, each made out his title to 
preference, with all the eloquence of which a Bee or an Ant had 
ever been master. Then Apollo gave judgment thus: 'I consider 
you both as most excellent examples of industry and prudence.' 
'You', said he, addressing the Ant, £ by your care, your foresight 
and your labor, make yourself ample provision in time of need} 
thus independent, you never intrude on or tax the labors of others 
for helpj but recollect, at the same time, that it is yourself alone 
that you benefit} no other creature ever shares any part of your 
hoarded riches. Whereas the Bee practices, by his meritorious and 
ingenious exertions, that which becomes a blessing to the world. 
Therefore I must give judgment in favor of the Bee." 


Honey sometimes turns sour. (The end of good luck.) 

The diligence of the hive produces the wealth of honey. 

A drop of honey will not sweeten the ocean. 

Don't have honey watched by a bear (make a goat the gardener). 

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. (Abra- 
ham Lincoln.) 

Honey young, wine old. 

Every bee's honey is sweet. 

Honey you swallow, gall you spit. 

If you are too sweet, the bees will eat you. 

Make honey out of yourself and the flies will devour you (Cer- 
vantes — Don Quixote. II. 43.) 

Where there is honey, the bears come uninvited. 

The bear dreams of honey. 

To your own honey the devil puts one spoon ; to strange honeys, 
two spoons. 

Luxury has honey in her mouth, gall in her heart, and sting in 
her tail. 


Where bees are, there is honey. 

Where a bee sucks honey, the spider sucks poison. 

A still bee gathers no honey. Old bees yield no honey. Dead bee 

maketh no honey. 
No bees, no honey; no work, no money. 
Who is afraid of the sting never earns honey. 
If you love honey, don't fear the sting. 
Honey is not far from the sting. 

Who collects honey and roses must bear the stings and the thorns. 
Wit is honey lent, without the sting. (Tennyson.) 

The following are some of the many foreign sayings and prov- 
erbs associated with honey: 


Where there is honey, there are bees. (Ubi mel, ibi apes) Plautus. 
Deadly poisons are concealed under sweet honey. (Impia sub 

dulci melle venena latent.) (Ovid — Amorum I. 8.) 
Where honey, there is gall. (Ubi mel, ibi fel.) This was, by the 

way, the favorite saying of Martin Luther. 
Honey in mouth, sting in tail. (In ore mel, in caude aculeum 



Who shares honey with a bear, gets the least of it. 

Honey is not meant for an ass. 

Honey is too good for the bear. 

Honey is sweet, but the bee stings. 

Bees have honey in their mouths, but stings in their tails. 

Bees bring honey, honey brings bees. 


A drop of honey catches more flies than a barrel of vinegar. 
A little gall spoils a great deal of honey. 


A honey tongue and a heart of gall. (Bouche de miel, coeur de 

Who deals with honey will sometimes be licking his ringers. 
Who has no honey in his pot — let him have it in his mouth. 
It is dearly bought honey, that is licked off a thorn. (Cher est le 

miel qu'on leche sur epines.) 


Michael, Michael, you have no bees and yet you sell honey. 


Rub yourself with honey and the flies will eat you. (Fatevi miele, 
che le mosche vi mangieramo.) 


If you make a honey barrel out of yourself, everybody wants to 
eat you. 


Honey in the hive of good fortune quickly sours. 
A lazy man is never fed on honey. 
Lick up the honey and ask no questions. 


Bees make honey and men eat it. 

When the nest is destroyed others get the honey. 


Honey is a wonderful substance but it does not help the dead. 


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Abd' Allatif, 233 

Abraham a St. Clara, 124 

Abulfeda, I., 84 

Aelian, 88, 143 

Aeschylus, 229 

Aetius, 89 

Allen, J. T., 181 

Ameiss, F. C, 109 

Anacreon, 66, 150, 212 

Antichus, 66 

Archangelsky, 142 

Arima, R., 105 

Aristophanes, 150 

Aristotle, 38, 125, 208, 231 

Aristoxenus, 89 

Atheneus, 67 

Aughinbaugh, W. E., 118, 119 

Bacon, R., 67, 77 
Bacon, Sir F., 78, 82 
Baldwin, Sir H., 139 
Balfour, P., 127 
Banting, F. G., 41, 139 
Barnard, H. E., 139 
Bartley, E. H., 57, 58 
Barton, 114, 144 
Bennett, A. W., 23 
Bergheim, 31 
Beszedits, D., 109 
Bevan, E., 124, 137 
Beveridge, J., 114 
Blattner, 119 
Blosser, R., 58 
Bock, H., 91 
Boerhaave, 68 
Borelli, 67 
Boswell, 131 
Browne, C. A., 103, 104 
Brugsch, 163, 224 
Brunich, Ch., 120 
Bryant, W. C, 179 
Buchheister, H., 119 
Buffon, 78 
Bunge, von, 48, 54 
Burns, R., 12 
Burroughs, J., 192 
Busch, W., 195 

Butler, Ch., 25, 46, 90, 91, 117, 12! 

Caillas, A., 31, 33 

Calvin, 222 

Cato, 12 

Celsus, 87, 88 

Cervantes, 248 

Charlemagne, 171 

Chaucer, 125, 215 

Chester, Sir W., 45 

Cicero, 167, 223 

Clement, A. L., 31 

Coleridge, 26 

Columella, 189, 192, 232 

Cornaro, L., 67, 79, 80, 81, 82 

Cowan, Th. W., 69 

Craig, J. D., 62 

Cranach, L., 212 

Crawford, J. M., 237 

Crow, C, 24 

Dadant, Ch., 69 
Davidov, A. Y., no, in 
Davis, T. M., 29 
Deeks, W. E., 53 
Demetrius, 195 
Democritus, 67, 231 
Dennig, 60 
Descartes, 10 
Diophanes, 146 
Dioscorides, 87, 91, 113 
Douglas, N. 89 
Dryden, 130 
Duke, 141 
Diirer, A., 212 
Dutcher, A., 3 1 
Dzierzon, 69 

Edwardes, T., 73, 123, 129, 131, 168, 

El, Basry, 88 
Eliot, J., 176 
El Madjoussy, 89 
Elser, E., 35 
Emerick, L. R., in 
Empedocles, 214 
Emrich, P., 52 
English, C. H., 99, 139 
Euripides, 150, 213, 229 

, Faber, H. K., 31 

Farnsteiner, 34 



Fiehe, 34 

Finke, 56 

Finlay, W. L., 61 

Fletcher, H., 82 

Flood, R. G., 51 

Fordyce, G., 7 

Franklin, Benjamin, 7, 78, 153, 154 

Fraser, H. M., 143 

Frisbie, W. S., 147 

Galen, 49, 67, 77, 87, 88, 99, 117, 

118, 132, 140 
Gallus, 175 
Gardiner, J., 45 
Garencieres, Th., 45, 46 
Goldsmid, E., 63 
Goss, R. J., in 
Gregory, St., 201 
Gundel, M., 119 

Haeckel, 63 

Haggard, H. W., 62 

Haller, 65 

Harris, S., 52, 53 

Harrison, W., 175 

Hawk, Ph. B., 31, 139 

Haydak, M. H., 48 

Heermann, A., 101 

Hennepin, 38 

Herodotus, 94, 146, 174, 232 

Herondas, 94 

Hesiod, 10, 230 

Hippocrates, 66, 78, 87 

Holmes, O. W., 16, 56 

Homer, 49, 59, 166, 210, 215, 223, 

229, 230, 232 
Hood, 227 
Horace, 150, 214 
Hoyle, E., 31 
Huber, F., 69 
Hufeland, 67, 68, 78 
Hutchinson, 141 
Huxley, Th., 223 

Ibn Magih, 85 

Iches, L., 31 

Irving, W., 178, 192 

Johnson, S., 1 1 
Josephus, 205 
Joslin, E. P., 138 

Kalidasa, 210, 213 
Kellen, T., 160, 163 
Kellogg, J. H., 139 
Kerley, Ch. G., 56, 57 
Klemperer, 47 
Kneipp, S., 70, 98 

Laborde, J. M., 31 
Lane, Sir A., 99 
Langstroth, L. L., 69 
Leete, 56 
Le Goff, 53 
Leib, C. W., 41, 139 
Leyden, 112 
Liebig, J., 22 
Lohr, 1 1 9 

Longfellow, 178, 237 
Lonnrot, E., 236 
Lorand, A., 97, 98, 139 
Lucian, 230 
Lucke, H., 119 
Lucretius, 87 
Luther, M., 249 
Luttinger, P., 50, 139 
Lycus, 67 

Macmillan, H., 113 
McCann, A. W., 136 
McCollum, E. V., 35, 42 
McGrew, G. D., 102, 103 
Magnus, J., 127 
Mann, H., 6 
Manuel, Don J., 91 
Marcellus, 87, 118 
Marco Polo, 38 
Marnix, van F., 202 
Martial, 143, 149, 160, 209 
Massilia, 171 
Mendoza, Codex, 176 
Menzel, 160 
Merl, Th., 34 
Mildmay, Th., 45 
Miller, C. C, 69 
Milton, J., 3 
Montelle, M., 177 
Montesquieu, 14 
Moschus, 212 
Muffet, 88, 128 
Muir, J., 179, 180 



Nepos, Cornelius, 232 
Niebuhr, 188 
Northcote, J., 247 

Obermaier, 161 
O'Gorman, M. W., 50 
Oribasius, 89 
Osier, Sir W., 43 
Ossian, 219 
Ovid, 143, 21 Ij 249 

Paracelsus, 69 

Pare, Ambroise, 233 

Parkinson, 1 13 

Parks, H. B., 182-186 

Paul of Aegina, 89 

Pausanias, 94 

Penrose, 218 

Philippi, Dr., 5 

Phillips, E. F., 33, 186, 187 

Philo, 205 

Phytheas, 160, 171 

Pindar, 223 

Plato, 209, 223 

Plautus, 249 

Pliny, 15, 26, 27, 37, 66, 67, 72, 73, 

88, 89, 123, 132, 143, 167, 171, 

Plutarch, 209, 210, 216, 229, 232 
Porphyry, 88, 209, 215 
Purchas, S., 87 
Pythagoras, 66, 78, 89 

Quintillian, 146 

Ransome, Hilda M., 203, 235 
Reepen, H., 115 
Reinhart, J. F., 101 
Remnant, R., 117 
Rhodius, Apoll., 125 
Roach, J., 91 
Rolleder, A., 52 
Root, E. R., 138, 139 
Rosebery, Earl of, 12 

Sack, A., 119 
Sacket, W. G., 139 
Sadi, 250 
Sala, A., 46 
Schacht, 97 

Seneca, 37 

Seyffert-Dresden, 60, 126 

Shakespeare, 125, 130, 1 38 

Sharp, W., 237 

Shuette, H. A., 35 

Siculus, D., 214 

Smith, 31 

Socrates, 12, 69 

Sophocles, 77, 150, 200, 223 

Ssanjuk, 142 

Statius, 231 

Stevenson, R. L., 112 

Stover, G. H., 141 

Strabo, 37, 232 

Sundberg, 35 

Syriac Book of Medicines, 88 

Szent-Gyorgyi, A., 103, m 

Telephus, 66 
Temple, Sir W., 76, 82 
Tennyson, 249 
Terman, 56 
Theocritus, 212, 214 
Theodorows, no 
Theophrastus, 37, 38, 214 
Thomas, G. N. W., 98, 139 
Thorley, J., 131 
Thuanis, 79 
Tibullus, 213 
Topelius, Z., 236 

Ullersberger, 115 
Ulloa, Don, 178 

Van Helmont, 22 

Varro, 38, 200 

Vigerius, 116 

Virgil, 94, 167, 213, 215, 223 

Voronoff, S., 45 

Warder, J., 131 
Waugh, L. M., 55 
Weesen, P. E., 52 
Wiley, H., 14, 44, 50, 146 
Williams, L., 139 
Willis, Th., 46 

Xenophon, 142, 164, 223 

Zaiss, W., 119 
Zenon, 189 


Aaron, 84 

Abraham, 71 

Abyssinia, 225 

Achilles, 211, 232 

Aeneas, 215 

Aeneid, 94 

Aesculapius, 93 

Africa, 23, 54, 94, 126, 225, 231 

Agnes of Burgundy, 69 

Ahijah, 206 

Albuna, 77 

Alemannia, 189 

Alexander the Great, 38, 231 

Amalthea, 210 

Amazon, 196 

Ambrose, St., 84 

American Association of Adult Educa- 
tion, 4 

American Bee Journal, 117 

American Honey Institute, 44, 138, 

Amor, 212, 213 

Anglo-Saxons, 43, 73, 127, 129, 168, 
170, 222 

Anthony, St., 8, 77 

Antophilus, 194 

Aphrodite, 213 

Apollo, 213, 234, 248 

Arabia, 10, 38, 51, 54, 86, 94, 1 50, 

Argentina, 178 

Argonauts, 125 

Aristobulos, 232 

Artemis, 205, 211, 228 

Asclepiades, 77 

Assyria, 162, 164, 201, 220, 231, 232 

As wins, 216 

Athens, 12 

Attica, 86, 166 

Attila, 77, 174, 218, 219 

Australia, 23, 26, 114, 162, 176, 178 

Austria, 174, 190 

Babylon, 126, 162, 164, 201, 220, 
222, 231 

Barberini, 204 

Bavaria, II, 132 

Bee Mountain, 182 

Bible, 22, 48, 56, 59, 60, 66, 68, 71, 

76, 83, 84, 90, 146, 159, 204, 

205 if., 224 
Birmingham, 1 70 
Black Forest, 26 
Bowels, J., 75 
Brazil, 23, 38, 178 
Buddha, 10 
Burma, 234 
Bushmen, 21 1 

Caledonians, 219 

California, 59, 147, 150, 179, 180 

California Fruit Growers' Exchange, 

Canada, 28 
Canary Islands, 38 
Cape Cod, 180 
Carmelites, 1 1 
Cam, Th., 74 

Catherine, Countess of Desmond, 74 
Caucasus, 222 
Cave up Blanco, 183 
Cecrops, 189 
Ceres, 213 

Charlemagne, 171, 194 
Charon, 230 
Chile, 5, 178 
China, 7, 24, 37, 38, 83, 86, 1 1 7, 1 26, 

155, 165, 166, 220 
Christ, 51, 60, 84, 198, 221 
Circe, 230 
Confucius, 10 
Consist, F., 75 
Corsica, 143, 173 
Crete, 38, 143, 210 
Cronos, 209 
Cuba, 177 

Cuevas de la Arana, 161 
Cupid, 211, 212, 213 
Cyprus, 24, 38 
Czartan, P., 77 




Damme, Th., 75 
Daudon, 73 

David, St., 77, 90, 207 
Davis Mountains, 184 
Deborah, 205 
Dedalus, 214 
Diana, 212 
Diomedes, 49 
Dionysus, 194, 213 
Druids, 130, 168 
Du Barry, 155 
Dumoulin, D., 97 

Eccleston, 75 

Eckardt, E., 100 

Eddas, 86, 125, 219 

Edward I., 234 

Egypt, 10, 11,29, 38, 83, 86,94, 150, 
156, 163, 164, 188, 189, 206, 
215, 216, 220 ff., 228, 229, 231 

Eliot, John, 176 

Elizabeth, Queen, 45, 128 

Ellis, W., 75 

Epimenides, 73 

Eros, 212 

Eskimos, 6, 55, 119 

Essenes, 72, 205, 210 

Ethiopia, 26, 38, 201, 237 

Evans, W., 75 

Exultet Rolls, 203, 204 

Finland, 221, 222, 226, 236 

Florida, 25, 177, 191 

Foster, M., 75 

France, 25, 131, 132, 173, 190 

Frauenfelder Sanitarium, 51, 52 

Frithiof Saga, 122 

Gabriel, 84 

Gallas, 225 

Gama, Vasco de, 193 

Garden, P., 75 

Gatinais, 25 

Georgics, 167 

Germany, 10, 47, 59, 60, 61, 100, 

115, 119, 150, 171, 190, 193, 

194, 220, 222 

Gandhi, Mahatma, 82 

Glaucos, 234, 235 

Gleanings in Bee Culture, 60, 98, 99, 

Grantham, 170 
Grasse, 25 
Great Britain, 45, 73, 124, 131, 167, 

168, 170, 172 
Greece, 10, 38, 59, 73, 86, 94, 116, 

123, 124, 125, 126, 150, 162, 

166, 189, 190, 213, 220, 222 

Hades, 230 

Headley, L. C, 49 

Hebrews, 13, 71, 84, 1 37, 204, 205, 

206, 220, 222 
Hecate, 228 
Henry II, 233 
Hermes, 230 
Hermippus, 63, 68 
Herod, 232 
Hertel, Ethel, 60 
Hiawatha, 178, 237 
Hieron, 223, 224 
Hindus, 165, 202, 210, 211, 213, 216, 

222, 224, 245 
Holinshed's Chronicles, 175 
Holland, 173 
Hottentots, 202 
Hrothgar, 125 
Hunding, 127 
Hungary, 24, 94, 103, 1 50, 174, 1 75, 

227, 236 
Hutland, L., 76 
Hybla, Mt., 24, 113, 143 
Hymettus, Mt., 24, 143, 166, 223, 


Iliad, 166, 232 

India, 7, 38, 83, 86, 89, 117, 162, 

164, 1 88, 220 
Indra, 216 
Iranians, 222 
Ishmael, 71 

Jacob, 71 
Jamaica, 20 



Jenkins, H., 74 

Jeroboam, 206 

Jerome, St., 201 

John, the Baptist, 203 

Jonathan, 84 

Joseph, 71 

Joseph and Arsenath, 201 

Joshua, 71 

Jupiter, 27 

Justinian, 231 

Kalevala, 236 

Kama, 212, 213 

Kenneth, the Conqueror, 112 

Kentigern, 75 

Koran, 83 ff., 89 

Krishna, 165, 216 

Kubla Khan, 26 

Languedoc, 25 
Liafsburg, 86 
Lindgar, St., 86 
Lithuania, 124 
L'Marr, P., 79 
Lohengrin saga, 196 
Longueville, de, 76 
Lorsch, 202 
Lucanor, El Conde, 91 
Luckner, Count, 100 
Lullius, Raimundus, 90 
Liineburger Heide, 172, 191 
Lusitania, 62 

Maba, 196 

Macfadden, Bernarr, 70 
Madeira, 38 
Madison, Helene, 60 
Malta, 24 
Mainnannan, 169 
Marguerite of Navarre, 155 
Meissen, 127, 171 
Meliponae, 26, 176 
Melitta, 209 
Menelaus, 166 
Menelik, no 
Mercury, 27 
Methuselah, 76, 77 

Mexico, 162, 176, 177 
Mississippi, 38, 1 00, 190 
Mohammed, 10, 84, 85, 229 
Moldavia, 137 
Morocco, 225 
Moses, 10, 71, 84, 224 
Mount, J., 75 
Muses, 223, 245 

Napoleon, 43 

Narbonne, 25 

Narcissus, St., 77 

Nazis, 11,16 

Nearchus, 38 

Nebuchadnezzar, 201 

New Zealand, 178 

Niebelungen, 125, 126, 171, 217, 218, 

Norway, 5 
Nubia, 38 

Nueces canyon, 185 
Numas de Cugna, 77 
Nuremberg, 194 

Odin, 211, 217, 218, 219 
Odyssey, 166, 232 
Olympus, Mt., 223 
Onomocritus, 73 
Ophir, 62 
Orpheus, 215 
Owen, Sir, 75 

Palestine, 10, 32, 205, 208 

Pan, 214 

Panama, 41 

Papal ius, 77 

Papyrus Ebers, 49, 85, 164 

Paradise, 5, 84, 219 

Parr, Th., 74 

Patrick, St., 77 

Patten, M., 75 

Paul, the Hermit, 77 

Pericles, 166 

Persia, 24, 83, 86, 162, 201, 202, 220, 

231, 232 
Peru, 162, 178, 202 
Phoenicians, 126, 168, 220 



Piast, 76 

Pluto, 215 

Poland, 76, 129, 175, 221, 225 

Polydos, 234, 235 

Ponce de Leon, 64 

Pontus, 88, 143 

Poppea, 155 

Proserpina, 213 

Psyche, 196 

Radaloy, D., 75 

Rakian, 197, 198 

Rhea, 209 

Rhodes, 38, 226 

Rig- Veda, 164, 216, 245 

Roman Empire, 86, 166, 168, 194, 

213, 215, 222, 245 
Rome, 10, 150, 155, 156, 162, 220 
Ronsey, J., 75 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 44 
Rovin, J., 77 
Rudolph I, 69 
Rumilius, Pollio, 66 
Russia, 23, 129, 132, 175, 190, 231 

Samson, 207 

Samuel, 60 

Sands, J., 76 

Saracens, 38 

Sarah, 71 

Sardinia, 67, 143 

Satyrs, 194 

Saul, 90 

Scandinavia, 125, 217, 218 

Scotland, ill, 131, 170, 190, 222 

Sevigne, du, 155 

Shelton, 179 

Siberia, 23 

Sicily, 24, 38 

Skovbo, J., 160 

Slavs, 86, 94, 118, 124, 150, 175, 

213, 220, 221, 222 
Solarville, M., 77 
Solomon, 16, 83, 140, 168, 207 

Sorel, Agnes, 155 
South America, 26, 177 
Spain, 38, 131, 156, 161, 173 
St. Domingo, 38 
Switzerland, 120, 1 60, 161 

Talmud, 83, 117, 206 
Taylor, J., 76 
Texas, 181 ff. 
Thelmessos, 233 
Tiresias, 73 
Titans, 209 
Torton, P., 75 
Transylvania, 161 
Trigonae, 26, 176 
Turkey, 54 

Ukraine, 137 
Ulysses, 230 
Undine, 196 
United States of America, 7, 25, 41, 

42, 56, 92, 94, 136, 137, 148, 

154, 176, 177, 178, 191, 208 
U. S. Dep't of Agriculture, 30, 42, 44, 

United States Pure Food Law, 33, 145, 

146, 147 
United Y. M. C. A. Schools, 4 
University of Chicago, 4 
Urban VIII, 202 

Valhalla, 218 
Valkyries, 218 
Victoria, Queen, 112 
Vishnu, 216 

West Indies, 19, 38 
Winsloe, Th., 75 

Ygdrasil, 211 
Ymir, 211 

Zarathusthra, 230 

Zeus, 72, 209, 210, 213, 215, 223 


Ale, honey- 169, 170 

Amber, 5, 160, 247 

Ambrosia, 166, 209 

American folklore, 92, 182 ff. 

Animals fed on honey, 49 

Antisaccharites, 46 


fossil, 5, 160 

history of, 159 

preadamitic, 159 

stingless, 25, 26, 162, 175, 176 

Bee-woman, 196, 197 

Beor, 155, 170 

Birth rites, 222 

Blood sugar, 61, 107 

Candy poisoning, 55 ff. 

Cane-sugar, see artificial sugars 

Death ceremonials, 229, 231 


Common sense in, 9, 10, 1 1 ff., 16 
Disputes in dietetics, 4, 8, 12 
- Influence of, 6 
Knowledge of, 4, 7 
Problem of society, 6, 1 1 
Primitive man, 5, 7, 19, 65, 159 
Cultural races, 1 1 
Various stages of life, 9 
Quality of food, 4, 6, 8, 16 
Quantity of food, 12, 14 
Protein, 7, 9, 16, 21, 63, 143 
Meat, 5, 6, 13, 23, 24 
Carbohydrates, 7, 8, 9, 1 6, 1 7, 2 

31, 61, 104 
Fat, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17 
Minerals, 7, 8, 9, 16 
Vitamins, 9, 16, 17, 31 
Fruits, 5, 8, 9, 10, 19, 53, 56 
Vegetables, 5, 6, 8, 9, 19, 53, 56 
Dairy products, 6, 13, 48 
Milk, 13, 18, 22, 94, 152 
Fish, 6, 166 
Alcohol and stimulants, 6, 8, 1 

14, 19, 137, 152 
Hors d'oeuvre, 13, 14 

Drip-cut pitcher, 29, 135 

Embalming, 231 ff. 

Eucalyptus honey, 114, 115 

Flour, white, 42, 43 


Health, see medicinal uses of honey 
Heather ale, 112, 113 
Heather honey, 1 1 1 ff . 
Hieroglyphs, 86, 162, 163 

Physical Aspects, 22, 23 
Taste, 23, 30 
Color, 23, 30 
light, 30, 35 
dark, 30, 35 
Aroma, 23, 30 
Consistency (specific gravity), 23, 

30, 32 
Comb, 27 
Extracted, 27 
Strained, 27 
Granulated, 28, 29, 33 
Types, 23 ff. 
Chemistry of, 28, 33 ff. 
Acidity, 34 
Calorie value, 40, 149 
Hygroscopic property, 28, 29, 33, 

36, 149, 154 
Invert sugars, 21 ff., 32 
dextrose, 20, 31 ff. 
levulose, 20, 31 ff. 
Sucrose, 32 
Dextrin, 32 
Enzymes, 17, 21, 22, 28, 31, 33, 

Vitamins, 16, 31, 40, 43, 53, 58, 


Mineral content, 28, 34, 35, 36, 

52, 54> 94 
Oxidation, 17, 18, 62, 106 
Bee venom in honey, 33, 34, 101 
Adulteration, 145 ff. 
Poisonous honey, 142 ff. 
Home Uses of, 7 
Baking, 149, 150 ff. 

baclava, 150 

biscuit de Savoie, 152 

chalva, 150 

halva, 151 

lebkuchen, 150 

libum, 150 

ova mellita, 150 

pain d'epice, 150 

panis mellitus, 150 




placenta, 150 

rodgrod, 152 

rote griitze, 152 

savillum, 150 

scribita, 150 

tourte a la Frangipane, 152 

zampaglione, 152 
Beverages, 152 

conditum, 132 

hydromel, see mead 

mulsum, 59, 167 
Confectionery, 37, 150 

bar-le-duc, 153 

candy, 51 ff., 150 

ice cream, 149 

mi-tsao, 165 

preserves, 153 

sahm-sahm, 151 
Cooking, 149, 150 
Cosmetics, 155 

chafed skin, 47, 155 

face, 96, 155 

freckles, 155 

growing hair, 47, 88 

hands, 155 

honey mint, 155 

honey packs, 156 

sunburn, 155 
Tobacco, 154 

latuka, 126 
Medicinal Uses of, 83 ff. 
Ancient therapeutics, 83 ff. 
Middle ages, 90 ff. 
Modern therapeutics, 92 

aphrodisiac, 89 

blood reconstructive, 52, 91, 
IOO, 101 

diuretic, 87, 89, 91, 94 

energy producer, 17, 21, 52, 
61, 83, 89,98,99, 102, 108 

expectorant, 87, 95, 100 

laxative, 33, 47, 51, 62, 86, 
88, 89,90,94,97, 149, 152 

popular nostrum 83, 92 ff. 

restorative, 98, 134 

sedative, 96, 97, 132, 143 

sweetener, 93, 96 

arthritis, 45, 101 
bronchitis, 94 
cough, 94, 96 

diabetes, 41, 42, 45, 95, 96, 
104 ff. 

gastric ulcers, 97, 98 

gravel and stones, 86, 88 

hay fever, 102, 103 

heart tonic, 70, 98, 99, 100 

influenza, colds, 103 

kidney ailments, 94 

obesity, 47, 102 

pneumonia, 98, 99 

protective food, 94 

pulmonary ailment, 91, 94 

throat ailments, 26, 47, 95 

tuberculosis, 49, 51, 94, 95, 
96, IOI, 102 

typhoid, 99 

worm cure, 95, 99, no 

enema, 99 
Nutritive Value of, 21, 47 ff. 
Infant feeding, 49 ff. 
Children, 51 ff. 
Athletes and soldiers, 59 ff., 98 
Longevity, 63 ff. 
Surgical Uses of, 116, ff. 
Historical, 116 
Antiphlogistic use, 118 
Antiseptic effect, 47, 90, 91, 

117 ff., 120 
Boils, 117, 120 
Burns, 117 
Carbuncles, 117, 120 
Diphtheria, 118 
Ear troubles, 118, 120 
Eye afflictions, 86, 87, 1 10, 1 16, 

117, 118 
Gout, 101 
Ointments, 117, 118, 119, 120 

balm of Gilead, 155 
Skin diseases, 117, 120 
Ulcerations, 84, 87, 117 
Wounds, 84, 117, 119 
Honey dew, 25, 26 
Honey guide, 194 
Honey War, 199 
Hunting for wild honey, 192 ff. 

Insulin, 17, 107 ff. 

Kalevala, 236 ff. 

Manna, 206 

Marriage ceremonies, 224 



MEAD, 122-133 

Origin of name, 124, 217 
Preparation of mead, 124, 128, 129 
Mead makers, 130 
Medicinal values of, 116, 132, 133 
Types of mead, 1 22 ff. 

simple mead, 122 

compound, 122 

vinous, 123 

athol brose, 130 

athol porridge, 131 

bochet, 129 

braggots, 128 

Canary sack, 130 

corma, 131 

elixir vitae, 64, 133 

hydromel, 132 

krupnik, 129 

lipez, 129 

mahogany, 131 

metheglin, 128, 1 30 

miodomel, 129 

misshu, 126 

morat, 129 

oenomel, 132 

omphacomel, 132 

oxymel, 132 

pigment, 129 

Queen Elizabeth's metheglin, 128 

rhodomel, 132 

sikaru, 126 

tetsch, 126 

thalassiomel, 123 

usquebaugh, 128 

zythus, 131 
Nordic drink, 125 
Anglo-Saxon, 127, 129 
Slavic, 129 
India, 126 
Africa, 126 
Measures for honey, 169 
Melezina, 91 
Mummies, 232, 233 

as medicine, 233 
Mythologies, 209 
Egyptian, 216 
Germanic, 218 
Greek, 209, 214, 215 
Hindu, 213, 216 
Nordic, 218, 219 
Roman, 211,212,213,215 
Slavic, 216, 217 

Nectar, 23, 25, 146, 166, 209 
Nutrition, 16 ff. 

obj ect of, 1 6, 1 7 

laws of Nature, 65 

optinum nutrition, 22, 47 

Papyri, Egyptian, 201 
Poetry, 245 
Pollen in honey, 27 
Prehistoric times, 159 ff. 
Preserving quality of honey, 153 
Price of honey, 147, 148 
Proverbs, 247 ff. 

Religion, 200 ff. 

sacrificial offerings, 200, 229, 230 

baptism, 201 

blessing the bees, 202, 204 

valued gift, 206 

prayers for honey harvest, 202 
Runic calendars, 125 

Saccharin, 44, 45 

Salt, 45, 105 

Salvemet, 91 

Sensitivity to honey, 135, 140, 141 

Skol, 218 

Spanish cave picture, 161 

Storing honey, 29 

Sugar-cane, 19, 37, 38, 40, 86 

Sugars, 18 ff. 

natural, 3, 4, 7, 18, 19, 20, 31, 40, 
41,43, 54,61 

artificial, 19, 37, 38, 41, 42, 43, 45, 
46, 54 ff., 57, 105, 107, 146, 

history of refined sugar, 37, 38 

manufacturing of refined sugar, 40, 


sugar consumption in U.S.A., 56, 
136, 137 
Superstitions, 220 
Sweets, 4, 13, 43 
Swiss cave dwellings, 16 
Symbolism, 245 

Tabes anglica, 45 
Tiara (papal), 202, 203 

Vinegar, honey-, 133 
oxymel, 132, 133 

Waldhonig, 26 

Wandering beekeepers, 188 ff. 

World War, 137, 147, 172 

University of